Vaibhav Raut wanted to do a repeat of Malegaon Blasts

According to media reports, on August 11, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) arrested Vaibhav Raut for possession of explosives and after interrogating him, they arrested two more people Sharad Bhausaheb Kalaskar and Sudhanwa Sudhir Gondhalekar from Pune.

The accused are hardened criminals are are expert at hoodwinking the police. They have now started claiming that they wanted to support the Maratha agitation and planned low-intensity bomb blasts to create chaos and fear in society. This is a ploy by the accused to take the police off-track from the main investigation.

Also Read: Hindutva hardliners Raut, Gondhalekar and Kalaskar planned to blow up 6 theaters, Ganapati mandaps in Maharashtra

During the investigation, the trio revealed that they were planning to target Malegaon during Bakri Eid.

In a second search of Vaibhav Raut’s house on 14th August, the ATS recovered a laptop, two CPUs, one Innova car, four air pistols, 20 air pistol bullets, a notebook, a diary, three mobiles, three SIM cards and two sets of flat documents.

Also Read: 150 pistols, 100 bombs, 3000 bullets were on the shopping list of arrested hardliners

Sources claims the accused said the motive behind attacking Malegaon again was to avenge the atrocities committed against the earlier accused in the Malegaon bomb blast case.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut, other Gau Rakshaks were involved in extortion in the guise of cow protection: Extortion money was used to fund purchase of arms

Along with being associated with the assassination of rationalists Dabholkar, Pansare and journalist Gauri Lankesh, the organisation had allegedly entrusted the Bakri Eid plot to Vaibhav Raut and his colleagues.

So far, the Maharashtra ATS has investigated 35 to 40 people in this case.

Also Read: 35-40 bombs could be manufactured with explosives seized from Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut residence and office

In addition to this, the Anti-Terrorism Squad will also verify the connection of the accused in the Ahmednagar Parcel Bomb case.

Similar to the Ahmednagar case, the accused were assembling low-intensity bombs which could cause a minor explosion and cause a scare in society without causing much physical harm.

Hindutva hardliners Raut, Gondhalekar and Kalaskar had planned to blow up 6 theaters, Ganapati mandaps in Maharashtra

The three persons arrested by the Maharashtra ATS – Vaibhav Raut (40), Sharad Kalaskar (25), both from Nalla Sopara near Palghar and Sudhanav Gondhalekar (39) from Pune for possession of a huge cache of arms and explosives, had allegedly planned to blow up or create blasts at six theaters and at least 4-5 Ganapati mandaps in different parts of Maharashtra including Mumbai, Pune, Sangli and Solapur during the upcoming Eid and Ganapati festivals in Maharashtra and pin the blame on Muslim anti social elements, police sources have claimed.

Also Read: 150 pistols, 100 bombs, 3000 bullets were on the shopping list of arrested hardliners

The locations targeted were close to Muslim localities, as a result of which the finger of suspicion would automatically point to anti social elements from the minority community.

2-3 anti-Hindu voices were also on the hit list and the Hindutva terrorists who had planned to use the crowds and chaos as a screen during the coming Ganpati festival to carry out their sinister plan to eliminate the liberal and rationalist voices in the State.

Goa-based writer Damodar Mauzo was among those targeted, sources claimed. Mauzo has been given police protection since the last 3 weeks by the Goa government as threats to his life were revealed.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha has 22 different outfits, registered in different States under different names

The Maharashtra ATS refused to officially confirm the information regarding the targets, but said that they were investigating all angles.

The arrested persons were definitely planning bomb blasts in Maharashtra and other parts of the country to spark off riots between communities, a plan which was foiled by the cops in the nick of time, the ATS said officially on record.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha wants to set up a Saffron Army of 2000 trained killers and shooters for terrorist activity

The arrested hardliners Vaibhav Raut and Sudhanwa Gondhalekar wanted to procure about 150 pistols, 100 bombs and over 3000 bullets of different caliber for use in the coming 6-8 months and were planning to recruit a ‘small army of like-minded persons’ to carry out various terrorist activities.

They were trying to arrange funds to a tune of Rs 15 lakh to purchase this hardware for their heinous acts.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut, other Gau Rakshaks were involved in extortion in the guise of cow protection: Extortion money was used to fund purchase of arms

The Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) found a mini arms-making unit or factory and is now probing their links in Uttar Pradesh and Assam, official sources said on Monday.

The arrested persons were in the process of procuring machines and lathes to make country-made pistols and also fabricate bullets. They had obtained training from illegal arms manufacturing units in UP and Bihar, ATS sources revealed. Imported arms were procured from Assam.

Also Read: 35-40 bombs could be manufactured with explosives seized from Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut residence and office

Vaibhav Raut a violent gau rakshak was the co-founder of a cow protection group, Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti set up in 2014. The group is allegedly associated with Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, Shiv Prathisthan and the Sanatan Sanstha, all of which are radical far-right Hindutva organizations.

Gondhalekar is connected with the Shri Shiv Pratisthan, spearheaded by the controversial 85-year-old Sambhaji Bhide alias Bhide Guruji, which has patronage of the PM Narendra Modi.

Modi has openly admired Bhide and called him his guru or mentor. The Shiv Pratisthan confirmed Gondhalekar was earlier associated with them, but said he is now no longer part of the outfit.

Also Read: Arrested for possession of explosives, Vaibhav Raut was an active member of Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and a vociferous Gau-Rakshak

Local Congress politicians and meat traders in Palghar from where Raut was arrested have termed him an extortionist who would extort money from meat transporters and fund his illegal arms manufacturing activity.

On Friday, last week, the ATS created a sensation by claiming to have unearthed a terror plot targeting Mumbai, Pune, Satara and Solapur ahead of Independence Day celebrations and the upcoming Bakri Eid festival.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killers

Continuing the raids and probe over the weekend in Palghar, around 60 km north of Mumbai, the ATS has found a mini arms production unit and seized at least five country-made pistols, three incomplete pistols, 11 cartridges of 9 mm pistols and 30 cartridges of 7.65 mm pistols, springs, triggers and other material, reports news agency IANS.

The arrested three persons were part of a larger inter-state network of radicals set up to eliminate anti Hindu voices and create mayhem in the country. The ultimate aim was to create fear in the majority community by linking the blasts and acts of violence to minority community elements.

Also Read: Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the main Agency to carry out Killings, Gauri Lankesh was Second on a ‘Hitlist’ of 36 targets

Nearly 20 other associates or suspects have been interrogated to ascertain their connections in other parts of the state or outside and certain email exchanges between the accused with references to Uttar Pradesh and Assam shall be probed.

Prominent Goans, social workers, writers, intellectuals demand ban on right-wing Sanatan Sanstha

Panaji, Jul 29: Calling the right-wing Sanatan Sanstha an “extra-constitutional authority” and a “cancer” whose spread should be stopped, prominent activists from Goa have demanded a ban on it.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

The latest catalyst for the demand comes after inputs of a threat to the life of progressive writer Damodar Mauzo.

A special investigation team (SIT) of the Karnataka police, which is probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru last September, had told the Goa police about the threat to Mauzo’s life.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

The Goa-based right-wing organisation, which has a pan-India presence, however, maintained that the allegations were “baseless”, claiming to have worked in the field of “spirituality” to spread “religious wisdom” about Hinduism.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha like cancer, a killing agency and breeding ground for murderers, ban it, demands Goa-based Sahitya writer Damodar Mauzo

Mauzo has told PTI that the organisation was a “cancer” which should be stopped from spreading in Goa.

Stressing on the need for such a move, Prashant Naik, a social activist, told PTI that legal luminaries should be roped in by the state government to place before the court the need for a ban.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

“We lost an ‘open-and-shut’ 2009 Margao blast case due to poor legal support during the trial,” he pointed out.

Two men, including one allegedly from the Sanatan Sanstha, died in 2009 while they were transporting explosives to be reportedly planted in a crowded area in Margao.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had charge-sheeted half-a- dozen activists of the Sanstha, but the accused were acquitted by a local court due to lack of evidence.

“The way the Sanatan Sanstha is going about spreading hatred in the society, it should be banned,” Naik added.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

The demand echoed in state Congress president Girish Chodankar. “The Sanatan Sanstha or any organisation that behaves like an extra-constitutional authority should be banned,” he said, highlighting that it had been named in the murder of progressive intellectuals like M M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and Lankesh.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder accused confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha other Hindu outfits involved

“When its name figures in all these murder cases, there is no reason why it should be allowed to continue functioning,” the Congress leader said.

Among the prominent institutions of Goa that have demanded a ban on the Sanstha is the Konkani Bhasha Mandal (KBM) — the state’s leading literary institution.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

Referring to the threat to Mauzo’s life, the KBM president, Chetan Acharya, said it was the first time that a writer had been threatened in the coastal state.

“Goa is known for its peaceful co-existence and we dont want institutions like the Sanatan Sanstha which work like extra-constitutional bodies,” Acharya said. “We strongly demand a ban on it so that it can’t spread hatred in Goa any further.”

Also Read: Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the main Agency to carry out Killings, Gauri Lankesh was Second on a ‘Hitlist’ of 36 targets

However, when contacted, the Sanstha’s spokesperson, Chetan Rajhans, refuted the allegations, claiming that there was no threat to Mauzo’s life, at least from his organisation.

“Is there any official confirmation to the claims that his life is threatened due to the Sanatan Sanstha?” he asked.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva outfit including a retired Indian Army Colonel hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot, claims SIT 

“These are baseless allegations against us by some of the anti-religion writers from Maharashtra and Karnataka who are facing flak after the Sanatan Sanstha started spreading religious awareness and wisdom across India,” Rajhans asserted.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva extremist outfit hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot

“Our institution works in the field of spirituality and spreads religious wisdom among the people. All attempts are being made to stop us from doing that,” the spokesperson said, ruling out any involvement of the Sanstha in the killings of Kalburgi, Pansare, Dabholkar and Lankesh.