Sources in the Maharashtra ATS who arrested Sanatan Sanstha activist Vaibhav Raut on Friday, said that Amol Kale, who was earlier arrested in June, by the SIT is an engineer by profession and the mastermind in the Gauri Lankesh murder case.
He was picked up by Special Investigation Team (SIT) investigating the murder case. Kale in his interrogations revealed the names of people associated with his outfit, reports India Today.
He had given a list of around 10 people working for the outfit which includes Vaibhav Raut. The SIT tipped off the Maharashtra ATS which kept watch on Raut for almost 15 days, before raiding his residence and office.
Raut’s name first came up in the Gauri Lankesh murder investigation. The main conspirators had formed a unit of hardcore Hindutva extremists pulled in from various far-right organisations including the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and the Sanatan Sanstha.
An unnamed inter-state unit specially trained for murders, bomb blasts and executions was set up and has been in existence for the last 2 years, of which Raut, Kale and others were members.
This unit is headed by 4-5 persons affiliated to a well-known Hindutva outfit including a retired army colonel.
The police are still trying to find any evidence or direct involvement of the outfit and the top 4-5 members.
The Sanatan Sanstha has issued a press note saying that Vaibhav Raut was a part of Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS) and was not linked with the Sanstha.
However, he has not been active for the past couple of months in the HJS, the press note said.
HJS Maharashtra organiser Sunil Ghanvat said Raut is a fearless cow protector (gau rakshak).
However, Raut had not participated in any of the HJS programmes for the past few months.
Sunil Ghanvat called Raut’s arrest a “needless harassment of Hindu organisation activists” to implicate them into false cases.
“This has been amply proved through the Malegaon case. And then the arrest of many innocent followers of Sanatan Sanstha. Raut is an instance of Malegaon Part 2,” Ghanvat said.