The Shiv Sena has tried its best to wash its hands off Shrikant Pangarkar, its former corporator who was arrested on Sunday for his links with a suspect held in connection with the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013.
According to party leaders, Pangarkar left the organisation after being denied a ticket for the Jalna Municipal Council elections that year. He had been an elected representative in the Jalna civic body for ten years till then.
According to Maharashtra’s Minister for Dairy Development Arjun Khotkar, who belongs to the Shiv Sena, Pangarkar had left the party and had been actively working for the Sanatan Sanstha.
However, Khotkar has left the Shiv Sena red-faced with his statement that many members of the party were still in touch with Pangarkar.
Pangarkar had reportedly been travelling to different places in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka, where the Sanstha had put down roots.
He was arrested by the Anti-Terror Squad of the Maharashtra police after Sachin Prakashrao Andure, accused of gunning down Dabholkar, allegedly named Pangarkar as the man who rode pillion with him when he shot the rationalist while he was on his morning walk.
A Mumbai court on Monday remanded Pangarkar in the custody of the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) till August 28.
According to police officials Pangarkar had obtained some knowledge about assembling explosives and was planning to set off crude bombs at different places in Maharashtra.
The police have already beefed up security at several mosques in Mumbai, Pune and other places after some of the suspects arrested in the case confessed to planning attacks during Eid, which is later this week.
Pangarkar is also accused of providing funds to Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar and Sudhanwa Gondhalekar, who were arrested after police seized country-made guns and explosives.
The weapons were stored in the home and office of Raut, who allegedly operated a real estate brokerage as front, according to police.