Gauri Lankesh murder: Sensational disclosure by accused, says cops offered Rs 25 lakh to confess to murder

In a sensational disclosure, a suspect accused in Gauri Lankesh murder case has alleged that the Karnataka police offered him Rs 25 lakh to confess and admit that he had killed the activist-journalist last year. Another suspect claimed that the police forced him to accept the charges by threatening his family.

Parashuram Waghmare, one of the alleged shooters, while being taken to court, told NDTV that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) offered him Rs 25 lakh to accept the crime. Another suspect Manohar Edave denied his involvement in the case and said that the police threatened to incriminate his family and friends unless he confessed to the murder.

Waghmare and Edave are among 12 people arrested in connection with the murder of journalist and social activist Gauri Lankesh.

Lankesh, a fierce critic of the right-wing politics, was murdered outside her home in Rajarajeshwari Nagar on 5 September 2017. In June 2018, the SIT said that Parashuram Waghmore confessed to the murder and alleged that he was told to kill someone to save his religion, and mentioned that he did not know who the victim was.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad took custody of two accused this month arrested for Lankesh murder in order to interrogate them in connection with the alleged plot to conduct disruptive activities in Maharashtra.

Last month, Maharashtra police Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested three members of a suspected right-wing Hindutva outfit and seized a huge cache of weapons and explosives. Sudhanwa Gondhalekar, one of the arrested men reportedly confessed to his role in the murder of Lankesh as well as rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and MM Kalburgi.

It has been alleged that the arrested men have ties with radical Hindu outfit Sanatan Sanstha which was founded by ‘hypnotherapist’ Jayant Balaji Athavale in 1999.

Source: Times Now

Far-right Terror Group Involved in Killings of Lankesh, Dabholkar and Kulbargi Tried to Procure AK-47s and Hand Grenades: Karnataka SIT

A Karnataka Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) official told IndiaScoops.com in an exclusive interview on condition of anonymity, that the arrested persons in the Gauri Lankesh murder case were not content using only country-made weapons. They wanted to prepare for an all-out war, or a confrontation by para-military forces.

The main conspirators had plans to set up a ‘commando team’ of about 20 highly-trained persons using imported weapons, in case their bomb and weapons manufacturing ‘factories’ were raided and surrounded by security forces.

However, before this could materialize, the Maharashtra ATS acting on a tip-off from the Karnataka SIT raided and seized a huge cache of country-made weapons which were being fabricated in different parts of Maharashtra, including Nalla Sopara near Mumbai, Pune and Satara.

Among the weapons seized by the ATS were about 20 pistols and finished parts for another 30 weapons, about 22 assembled bombs and explosives, detonators and timers enough to manufacture another 40 bombs.

The conspirators including the arrested Amol Kale had tried to inquire about the availability of military-grade grenades, hand-grenades and even AK-47 and AK-56 rifles and ammunition for the same from sources in Afghanistan.  They wanted to purchase 8 to 10  AK-47 rifles and about 100 hand grenades for emergency use in case of a confrontation with armed rival groups or if they were confronted and cornered by para-military forces.

While the same were available, transporting them to India from the Pak-Afghanistan border was the main hurdle. They had agreed on the price for the cache of weapons and even arranged for the funding. The money was to be sent in advance through hawala channels and the arms and ammunition would be dumped at a secluded and difficult spot on the Maharashtra coastline during the dead of the night, after moving through Pakistan, the official told IndiaScoops.com.

The arrested duo and two others were to pick up the consignment from the coast and hide the weapons in a village nearby about 15 kms from the Maharashtra coast,  only to transport them to safe houses, one at a time, to ensure that the entire cache was not lost or captured, in case the transporters were caught by the cops.

The conspirators had considered transporting the cache of imported weapons by road thru Pakistan and then through the sea. The two main far-right conspirators or masterminds were in touch with certain terror elements in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but there was a lack of trust between them.

Kale and his bosses did not trust the Afghanistani agent who had agreed to sell and transport the weapons. Since the amount was huge and the risk was too great,  the plan was aborted, the SIT official revealed to IndiaScoops.com.

After the seizure of explosives from Nallasopara last month, the Maharashtra Police has arrested at least ten people and said it will investigate their role in all detected and undetected cases, including the killings of Dabholkar, Pansare, Kalburgi and Lankesh.

According to a report in The Wire, during the interrogation, one of the arrested persons, Sharad Kalaskar, admitted to his involvement in Dabholkar’s killing, police had said.

On this information, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating Dabholkar’s killing, arrested Sachin Andure from Aurangabad.

According to The Wire, Kalaskar and Andure allegedly shot dead Dabholkar with two pistols in Pune, the official said.

The CBI had earlier arrested Virendrasing Tawade, the alleged ‘mastermind’ of the killing.

“During our investigation, it came to light that Tawade played a major role in the planning and execution of the three assassinations (Dabholkar, Lankesh and Kalburgi),” the official claimed.

While investigating Lankesh’s killing, the Karnataka Special Investigation Team (SIT) arrested Pune-based engineer Amol Kale, who had names and mobile numbers of the other group members in his diary, including Vaibhav Raut, Sudhanva Gondhalekar, Sharad Kalaskar and others, the official said.

Kalaskar had traveled to Karnataka to do a recce of Lankesh’s residence, he said.

As part of further probe, the Maharashtra ATS on Wednesday obtained the custody of Bharat Kurne and Sujeet Kumar, who were originally arrested by the Karnataka SIT in Lankesh’s killing case, in connection with the seizure of explosives from different parts of the state, reports The Wire.

Karnataka SIT alleges Maha ATS going slow on probe, contradicts Maha ATS report in Gauri Lankesh murder

The Maharashtra ATS claimed on Saturday that they have recovered a bike used by Ganesh Miskin and Gauri Lankesh suspected shooter Parashuram Waghmore, who rode pillion on the evening of September 5, 2017 when journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh was gunned down outside her house in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, but the Special Investigation Team of the Karnataka police probing the murder denied receiving any such information from Maharashtra ATS.

Yesterday, IndiaScoops.com had reported how the Maha ATS is under pressure from various political sources including the CM’s office (Read Here) to go slow and soft on the Hindutva terror investigation.  Now the Karnataka ATS sources allege that the Maharashtra ATS is not co-operating or not sharing information on a real-time basis, in spite of the advances in technology including Whats App groups, video sharing, etc., which facilitate real-time sharing of all info and data.

According to a report in the Deccan Chronicle, SIT chief B.K. Singh said that though reports of bike’s recovery are doing the rounds, the Maharashtra ATS had not yet informed SIT. “I read in newspapers that Maharashtra ATS has recovered the bike used by the killers in Gauri’s murder. I have not received any such information from the Maharashtra ATS,” Mr Singh said.

The Maharashtra ATS had recovered three bikes during the investigation of an arms case in Nalasopara in Mumbai and Pune. One of the bikes was recovered from Sharad Kalaskar, who was arrested in August in connection with the Nalasopara arms case and now a key accused in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case.

One Vasudev Suryavamshi alias Mechanic reportedly provided the stolen bike to Kalaskar and Kalaskar gave it to Amol Kale, the alleged mastermind in the Gauri case. Kale then said to have handed over the bike to Miskin and Waghmore to execute the task. The Maharashtra ATS is trying to trace the original owner of the bike. The papers and documents were faked and so were the number plates. The Karnataka SIT sources told  IndiaScoops.com the Maha ATS has been reluctant to share information immediately and give stupid excuses for failure or inordinate delay in sharing information. 

Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh has now taken the custody of Shrikant Pangarkar (40), a former corporator of Jalna in Maharashtra (Shiv Sena), from the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS).

Journalist Nikhil Wagle was No 2 on the hit list of Maha Terror Suspects

According to reliable sources in the Maharashtra Police ATS investigating the terror plots, wherein several people from Mumbai, Pune and Satara have been arrested including a former Shiv Sena corporator from Jalna Shrikant Pangarkar and a huge cache of arms, ammunition and explosives were seized, the accused had made a list of 10-12 persons from Maharashtra who were according to them ‘anti-Hindu’ and had to be killed or eliminated.

Also Read: Terror Suspects Planned to Bomb Mahim Dargah, Bandra Fair at Mount Mary’s Church and Pune Sunburn Festival

Senior journalist Nikhil Wagle, former editor of Aapla Mahanagar, IBN-Lokmat and Maharashtra 1, was No 2 on the hit list of the terror suspects.

According to a Hindustan Times article that reported the court proceedings before the special court the ATS also claimed that the five accused were involved in throwing petrol bombs outside cinema halls in Kalyan (a city in Thane district, 50 km north-east of Mumbai), and Belagavi (earlier known as Belgaum) in Karnataka for screening the Hindi movie ‘Padmaavat’.

Also Read: Shiv Sena leaders including Uddhav Thackeray were fully aware of Shrikant Pangarkar’s terror links, ‘explosions’, ‘bomb blasts’ plot?

ATS further claimed that the accused planned to attack individuals who they thought were propagating or engaging in activity that was “against the Hindu religion”, the Hindustan Times reported.

The names of the individuals were not divulged in court as media persons were present, the ATS lawyer told the court.

Also Read: Shrikant Pangarkar assembled bombs, funded purchase of explosives and boasted of ‘explosions’ and ‘bomb blasts’ to MoS Arjun Khotkar

Atulchandra Kulkarni, Maharashtra ATS chief, said he could not “confirm the names because it will pose a security threat to the individuals” Hindustan Times (HT) reported.

The individuals include an author-historian; a former Marathi newspaper editor and three Marathi authors and play-rights, ATS officials told HT on condition of anonymity.

Hindustan Times in its report did not name them because of the perceived security threat to the individuals.

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

The former Marathi newspaper editor is none other than the outspoken Nikhil Wagle.

The ATS officials also said they had recovered three motorcycles, including one from Nalla Sopara and two from Pune, and claimed one of three bikes, allegedly owned by Kalaskar, may have been used in the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru in September 2017.

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

In their raids, ATS officials claimed to have recovered 10 pistols, one air pistol, one country-made revolver, 10 pistol barrels, six pistol bodies, six magazines, three handmade magazines, one half-prepared country-made revolver, and seven hand-made pistols from Gondhalekar.

Also Read: Ex-Sanatan Sanstha seeker alleges “members hypnotized, made into killing machines and human bombs ready for mass murder or genocide”

Sunil Gonsalves, the public prosecutor appearing for ATS, told the court that the weapons used by the accused had been dismantled and were thrown away at different places to avoid detection, and that they needed to be recovered. He didn’t elaborate.

with inputs from Hindustan Times

BJP-led Maha Govt Protected and Shielded Right-Wing Murder-Accused for Four Years, Gauri Lankesh Probe by Karnataka SIT Forced Mah Govt to make Arrests

By Rajesh Singh | 25 August, 2018:  The Maharashtra Congress today alleged that the Devendra Fadnavis BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra had protected and shielded the killers of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and others for the last four years, in spite of having complete knowledge of the criminal activities of the hardliners who are indirectly part of the government.

Also Read: Hindutva hardliners had planned to blow up 6 theaters, Ganapati mandaps in Maharashtra

It was only after the Karnataka police Special Investigation Team (SIT) arrested about 13 persons who spat out the names of their associates in Maharashtra, and the press began reporting on the Maharashtra link to the killers, that the government developed cold feet.

It was just a matter of time, before the names of the accused hiding in Maharashtra would be revealed publicly in the media.

Also Read: Ex-Sanatan Sanstha seeker alleges “members hypnotized, made into killing machines and human bombs ready for mass murder or genocide”

The text of the remand and bail applications, as well as the confessional statements of the accused began appearing in the media, which forced the government to act and ordered the Maha ATS to make arrests immediately.

The Karnataka SIT had proof in terms of money trails and bank statements of several payments or transfers made by RTGS and IMPS from people in Maharashtra who had financially supported Gauri Lankesh’s killers in Karnataka.

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

The government was worried that the role of  others in Maharashtra like Sharad Kalaskar, Sudhanwa Gondhalekar and Shrikant Pangarkar would be exposed during court proceedings in the Gauri Lankesh case and the role of the Maha government in shielding the accused and not making arrests, in spite of having information from the Karnataka police would come out in the open.

The credibility and very existence of the Maharashtra government was at stake, said a Congress leader from Mumbai. The Devendra Fadnavis government then consulted Delhi, including the PMO and the Home Ministry, which gave them the go-ahead to arrest all the accused in Maharashtra whose names had cropped up in the Gauri Lankesh investigation.

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

This would serve a dual purpose. While the field operators like Raut and Kalaskar would be arrested, the masterminds and their political masters or bosses could still be protected. The arrest of the small fry would save the big bosses from arrest.

A top Karnataka police official told IndiaScoops.com,  the SIT had information that the weapon used to kill Gauri Lankesh was given to Gondhalekar who personally collected the weapon after the murder and took it for safe-keeping in Maharashtra. Forensic reports had matched the weapons, proving that only two weapons were used in all the murders.

Also Read: Shoot her in the head as it was done in Kalburgi murder, Gauri Lankesh killer taught during training

The Karnataka SIT knew that country-made pistols were being manufactured in Maharashtra and a huge cache of arms and explosives was being readied for subversive activities during the coming festivals.

Sources told IndiaScoops.com, that the Karnataka SIT had asked for permission from the Maharashtra DGP and the Maharashtra govt home department to raid Vaibhav RautSharad Kalaskar, Sudhanwa Gondhalekar and arrest them to recover the weapons used in the Gauri Lankesh murder.

The Karnataka SIT was all set to enter Maharashtra and arrest Kalaskar and Gondhalekar. The Maharashtra government had to do something and it did act in the nick of time to save it’s own skin.

Also Read:  With nearly 16-18 bomb blasts across the State, Sharad Kalaskar’s group plotted to rain terror and chaos in Maharashtra during Eid and Ganpati festivals

The SIT was sure the weapon was with Gondhalekar or one of his associates hidden somewhere in Maharashtra.

In the light of all this, if the Karnataka SIT had to effect the arrests of Vaibhav RautSharad Kalaskar, Sudhanwa Gondhalekar, it would have been a big slap on the face of the Maha government and its role in protecting the killers would be completely exposed. 

The Bombay High Court was also breathing down the neck of the CBI and the Maharashtra CID. It had openly praised the Karnataka SIT, while chastising the Maharashtra police and instructed the agencies to take inputs from their colleagues across the border.

Also Read: Dabholkar, Pansare, Kulbargi and Lakesh murders inter-linked: Same group of killers involved in murders

The accused in the custody of the Karnataka SIT were singing like canaries and they had revealed the names of all the co-conspirators from Maharashtra. A diary found in the possession of the main accused Amol Kale listed the names of the accused as well as those on the hit-list of the killers.

Karnataka SIT sources told IndiaScoops.com, they were about to move court for search and arrest warrants against the accused hiding in Maharashtra. Had a Karnataka court to grant the SIT the search and arrest warrants, the Maharashtra government would have to run for cover.

Further, the Devendra Fadnavis government was also worried if   Vaibhav RautSharad Kalaskar, Sudhanwa Gondhalekar, Sachin Andhure and Shrikant Pangarkar were to land up first in the SIT custody, more skeletons would tumble out of the closets as the SIT was going hammer and tongs with the investigation.

More big names – including those of some top politicians in other States would be revealed – this was the other major problem for the Maha CM. The only way to prevent this was to first arrest them and lock them up with the Maharashtra ATS where they could be debriefed, conditioned and tutored before the Karnataka SIT got hold of them.

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

By doing so, Devendra Fadnavis would be seen as a strict disciplinarian, unwilling to tolerate terror activity of any hue or color.

“The government was aware of what was happening,” said a senior Congress leader, adding that a former Shiv Sena corporator from Jalna, Shrikant Pangarkar has been arrested by the ATS and the CBI for the murder of Dr Dabholkar and according to media reports several senior Shiv Sena leaders were aware of Pangarkar’s activities as well as his plans to carry out several bomb blasts in Maharashtra.

The Congress leader claimed that Pangarkar had bragged of his ‘explosions’ and ‘bomb blasts’ activity to each and every Sena leader he met over the last 2-3 months. Why didn’t the government act against him earlier, he asked?

Also Read: Shrikant Pangarkar assembled bombs, funded purchase of explosives and boasted of ‘explosions’ and ‘bomb blasts’ to MoS Arjun Khotkar

According to a July 2018 report in Mid-day, the Congress alleged that the BJP-led Maharashtra government was shying away from taking serious action against the Sanatan Sanstha because “supporters” of the right wing outfit are part of the ruling dispensation.

Also Read: Shiv Sena leaders including Uddhav Thackeray were fully aware of Shrikant Pangarkar’s terror links, ‘explosions’, ‘bomb blasts’ plot?

Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil also said that the style of functioning of the Sanstha can be equated with international terrorist organisation, the Al Qaida.

Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan demanded a ban on Sanatan Sanstha and alleged that the State government is safeguarding the mastermind in the murder case.

Sudhanva Gondhalekar traveled to Bengaluru, collected weapon after Gauri Lankesh murder

Ten days after journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on September 5, 2017, Sudhanva Gondhalekar, 39, from Satara in Maharashtra, allegedly travelled to Bengaluru and collected the murder weapon — a 7.65 mm calibre country-made pistol — from H.L. Suresh, one of the accused who allegedly harboured the hitmen at a rented house in Seegehalli.

Gondhalekar was one of the people arrested last week by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the CBI, who were acting on intelligence provided by the Karnataka Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is probing the Gauri case.

“The investigation has now established that Gondhalekar collected the murder weapon from Suresh. It was left in his care by the team that carried out the hit,” said a senior official.

Crucial evidence

According to the SIT, one of the key suspects, Amol Kale — who was in Suresh’s house on September 5 — wrapped the weapon and put it in a suitcase which was in turn placed in a metal trunk. The trunk was kept in a shop that Suresh had rented near his house in Seegehalli. The SIT seized this suitcase and trunk, and recovered a strand of hair that matched with the DNA profile of Amol Kale. Following his arrest, Suresh allegedly told interrogators that an associate of Kale collected the weapon from him.

“That man has been identified as Sudhanva Gondhalekar, which makes him a key suspect in the case,” the official added.

Second link

This is not the only thread that links Gondhalekar to those arrested in the Gauri case. According to the SIT, he is also suspected to be linked to Sujith Kumar alias Praveen, who allegedly recruited suspected shooter Parashuram Waghmore and is one of the accused in the conspiracy to murder Mysuru professor Bhagavan.

Praveen went underground from February to May 2018, following the SIT’s first arrest in the case: K.T. Naveen Kumar. During this period, he was allegedly hiding at the house of a right-wing activist in Satara. The activist is suspected to be linked to Gondhalekar, who allegedly arranged for the shelter, sources said.

Rajesh Bangera, 51, from Madikeri who was arrested by the SIT for giving arms training to Waghmore, is now suspected to have trained many members of the organisation, including those who carried out the hits on Gauri Lankesh, M. M. Kalaburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar, said sources.

Source: The Hindu

Unchecked since 2008, Hindu outfit Sanatan Sanstha now a well-organised outfit

Sanatan Sanstha – the right-wing Hindu group which proclaims itself to be an organisation with a mission to protect the country and religion – had its members arrested for planting a bomb at a theatre in Panvel in 2008 when ‘Jodha Akbar’ was being screened. That same year, another bomb was planted at a theatre in Thane against the play ‘Amhi Satpute’.

In 2009, its members were accused of carrying a bomb on a scooter which went off prematurely at Madgaon in Goa. Since then, the outfit’s name has featured in the killings of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar, Kannada scholars MM Kalburgi and Govind Pansare, and in the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Security experts say the lack of focus among the state and central agencies has led the group to flourish, and diversify in a systematic manner to form sub-organisations that spread terror.

Police sources said the group trained at least 50 sharpshooters and planned to assassinate at least 36 prominent members, including IPS officers.

“It is a systemic failure on part of the central agencies that they did not keep a check on the activities of what was nothing more than a gathering of few people in 2008. The organisation has managed to gain substantial followers which could prove to be a threat in the days to come,” said a senior IPS officer who has been tracking right-wing extremism in the country.

A proposal was sent to the Maharashtra government to ban the outfit. “The DG’s office had sent a proposal to the then government to ban the outfit when its association with terror activities surfaced in 2008 and 2009. But it never materialised,” said a retired officer, requesting anonymity.

Home ministry sources privy to the proposal said that the then dispensation of Congress and Nationalist Congress Party was not in favour of banning it. “It wanted to start dialogue to keep such organisations under control,” said a senior government official, requesting anonymity.

The government’s unwillingness could also have stemmed from the fact that it was legally untenable to ban the outfit. “The outfit has divided itself into units which are spread across the state and do not have a specific ideology,” said an officer.

The units are registered separately to ensure that in case of any criminal investigation launched against the group, the key leaders or instigators can safely distance themselves from the perpetrators of crime, added the officer.

Source: Hindustan Times

Dabholkar, Pansare, Kulbargi and Lakesh murders inter-linked: Same group of killers involved in killings

As the CBI made one more arrest on Sunday, the realization is slowly dawning upon the investigating agencies including the Karnataka SIT, that all the murders of rationalists Dabholkar, Pansare, Kulbargi and journalist Gauri Lankesh are inter-linked and the same group of Hindutva hardliners supported from afar by the Sanatan Sanstha and its offshoot Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) were involved in the planning and execution of the targets.

Also Read:  With nearly 16-18 bomb blasts across the State, Sharad Kalaskar’s group plotted to rain terror and chaos in Maharashtra during Eid and Ganpati festivals

In fact, the same two weapons were possibly used in all four murders – forensic tests and reports have proved that there were two pistols that were used in the four murders.

The CBI team investigating the murder case of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar has claimed that it has arrested the alleged shooter who fired bullets at Dabholkar on August 20, 2013, reports News18.

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

The CBI team has been able to nab the alleged shooter Sachin Prakashrao Andure, just two days before the fifth death anniversary of Dabholkar.

On Sunday, the CBI arrested a former Shiv Sena corporator Shrikant Pangarkar who was riding pillion on the motorbike of the shooter Andure.

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

Sachin Andure, a right wing Hindu activist, was a regular reader of Sanatan Prabhat, the mouthpiece of the Sanatan Sanstha.

According to sources, Sachin Andure’s name surfaced during the interrogation of three suspects arrested by the Maharashtra ATS on August 10.

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

Vaibhav Raut and Sharad Kalaskar were arrested from Nala Sopara, whereas the third suspect Sudhanva Gondhlikar was arrested from Pune on the same day.

Vaibhav Raut is a member of the ‘Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti’. He has participated in several events organised by Hindu organisations, including the Sanatan Sanstha and the HJS.

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

Sharad Kalaskar, who hails from Satara district, is also a right wing Hindu activist actively involved in protecting cows. He was working  with Vaibhav Raut in Nala Sopara.

Kalaskar during interrogation told the ATS he was involved in the Dabholkar murder.

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

Sudhanva Gondhalekar is allegedly associated with ‘Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan’, an organisation headed by Sambhaji Bhide alias Bhide Guruji. PM Narendra Modi is a great admirer of Bhide who is also known as Bhide Guruji among his people.

Sudhanva has also shared dais with several members of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and Sanatan Sanstha.

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

ATS said that the arrests were made based on a secret information received on August 7, that certain people were conspiring terror activities in Pune, Satara, Solapur, Mumbai and Nala Sopara.

A huge cache of explosives, including 20 country made bombs and material to make IEDs, was seized along with several firearms from raids carried out at Nala Sopara, Pune and Solapur.

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

ATS also arrested Shrikant Pangarkar, former Shiv Sena corporator from Jalna district on August 19. It is suspected that he financed the fire arms and explosives recovered from the three suspects.

If sources are to be believed, the secret information received by ATS was given by the Special Investigation Team from Karnataka probing the murder case of Journalist Gauri Lankesh.

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

According to sources, the name of Vaibhav Raut and others surfaced during the interrogation of Amol Kale, who allegedly masterminded murder of Gauri Lankesh.

Amol Kale was arrested by Karnataka Police on May 21, on charges of attempt to murder.

However, his custody was taken by the SIT of Bengaluru police as it was suspected that he was involved in the murder plot of Gauri Lankesh.

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

A diary was also seized from Kale which has several names of targets, including that of Gauri Lankesh.

The Karnataka police SIT investigating the Gauri Lankesh murder claimed that about 36 to 40 persons were on the hit list of Kale and gang.

The families of Dabholkar and late Communist member Govind Pansare have been given security following inputs from Kale’s diary, which reportedly had the names of the family members on the hit list.

Also Read: Shoot her in the head as it was done in Kalburgi murder, Gauri Lankesh killer taught during training

Sources claim that the diary is written in code language and also talks about 50 potential shooters from Karnataka and Maharashtra who were to be recruited to carry out the operations. About 40 persons were on the hit list of the shooters.

Several of these were being trained in using guns, pistols and air guns in Belgavi, Hubballi and Pune.

Also Read: Gau Rakshaks chant anti-police, anti-govt slogans, take out protest march demanding release of terror suspect Vaibhav Raut

When Amol Kale was interrogated by the SIT about the names in the diary, he revealed information about Vaibhav Raut and others. The information was passed to Maharashtra ATS.

Based on this information, the Call Data Records of Vaibhav Raut and Sharad Kalaskar were tracked by the ATS, which revealed information regarding a terror conspiracy and their suspicious activity was exposed.

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

Vaibhav Raut and Sharad Kalaskar were detained by the ATS and after several hours of questioning, the residence and shop of Vaibhav Raut, located in Nala Sopara, were raided and both were arrested.

Another suspect named Sudhanva Gondhlikar was also arrested from Pune as he was found to be constantly in touch with the Vaibhav Raut and Sharad Kalaskar.

Also Read: Protest rally at Nala Sopara in support of arrested Vaibhav Raut was organised by Sanatan Sanstha and HJS

Apart from firearms and explosives, in the raids conducted at Nala Sopara, Pune and Solapur, ATS also seized vehicle number plates, motor bikes and parts of pistols along with other articles, including several documents handwritten in code language.

ATS suspects that these articles were used in the murders carried out in Maharashtra and Karnataka, including that of Dr Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M M Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh. Raut’s office was used as a store-room by the killers.

During interrogation of Sharad Kalaskar regarding these murders, the ATS claims he revealed that he played a major role in the murder of Dr Narendra Dabholkar. He also gave information about Sachin Andure’s role in the murder.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut wanted to do a repeat of Malegaon Blasts

Based on this input, Sachin was detained by the ATS from Aurangabad district of Maharashtra on August 14. After questioning him for several hours, it was found that he was involved in the killing of Dabholkar. The information was shared with the CBI team investigating the case after which he was arrested by the CBI.

It has been found that Sachin, who was staying in Aurangabad was one of the shooters, who fired at Dabholkar. He has also been trained to use firearms in different parts of Karnataka and Maharashtra.

CBI stated that the conspiracy to kill Dabholkar was hatched by Virendrasinh Tawde along with Sachin and others.

Virendrasinh Tawde, a member of the Sanatan, was arrested in 2016 for his involvement in the murder of Dabholkar, he is also an accused in the murder of Govind Pansare.

Sachin Andure’s arrest is considered as an important development in the Dabholkar Murder case.

Speaking to News18, Hamid Dabholkar, son of late Narendra Dabholkar, said “CBI should reach the masterminds of this conspiracy. I hope that the killers of Pansare, Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh will also be arrested soon”.

with inputs from News18.com

60 youth trained in firing guns: “Gun that killed Lankesh, Pansare and Kalburgi was our ‘Sudarshan Chakra’ to destroy ‘evil’, we worship it”

BENGALURU:: The forensic analyses that showed the same country-made 7.65mm gun was used to kill scholar MM Kalburgi and journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh threw up one obvious question:

Were the alleged killers so naive as to not destroy the weapon after committing the first crime?

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

Amol Kale and Amit Degvekar, two of the conspirators arrested in the Gauri Lankesh case, told their interrogators that they believed their gun was the talisman that helped them accomplish their mission of eliminating anti-Hindutva forces, and even likened it to Lord Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra used to kill demons in Hindu mythology, reports The Times of India.

Also Read: Shoot her in the head as it was done in Kalburgi murder, Gauri Lankesh killer taught during training

“Just like the Sudarshana Chakra killed the unscrupulous, our pistol will shoot those who talk ill about our religion,” sources in the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Gauri killing quoted the duo Kale and Degvekar as saying.

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

Sources in Karnataka police said Kale and Degvekar’s claims cannot be doubted, considering that the forensic tests have indicated the same gun was used to kill CPI leader Govind Pansare too in early 2015 at Kolhapur, Maharashtra.

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

They pointed out that for all the meticulous planning and execution of the two killings, the accused were driven by blind hatred and were inclined to believe in mythical powers in their weapon of crime.

However, the SIT is yet to seize the 7.65mm pistol used in the murders. Recently, the Maharashtra anti-terror squad arrested three men and recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from them, including 11 country-made pistols.

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

Senior police officials from Karnataka and Maharashtra have decided to send five pistols to the forensic science laboratory in Ahmedabad to verify if they match with the weapon used in killing Gauri, Kalburgi and Pansare.

Rajesh D Bangera, another arrested accused, told SIT that he had trained at least 60 youths in using firearms, pistols in particular.

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

The 50-year-old resident of Madikeri joined a Goa-based right wing organisation in 1997 and was trained by a person they fondly called ‘senapati’ or ‘senadipati’, meaning army general. “I met Amol Kale in late 2000. As per Kale’s directions, I trained more than 60 youths,” Bangera told SIT.

“Amol Kale wanted to send a message by killing anti-Hindutva elements and started looking for youths with strong religious sentiments,” SIT sources said, quoting Bangera.

Source: The Times of India

Hindutva hardliner, anti-intellectual extremist group neutralized, claims SIT

BENGALURU: With the arrest of 12 men in connection with the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, the special investigation team (SIT) says it is not only moving closer to solving the case, but has also dismantled the entire team that was set up to eliminate progressive writers and thinkers in Karnataka, claims a report in The New Indian Express (TNIE).

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

It is learnt that the leaders of the radical outfit, allegedly floated by a right-wing organisation, that carried out the murder of Gauri and scholar Dr M M Kalburgi, in which arrests have to be made yet, had trained more than 20 youths in using firearms.

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

During the course of the probe, the SIT had zeroed in on over 20 youths recruited by Amol Kale alias Bhaisaab, the head of operations of the covert team in Karnataka, and his associates Sujith Kumar alias Praveen and Manohar Edave alias Manoj.

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

They included some of the accused arrested in connection with Gauri’s murder.

“The recruits were spread across the state and all of them were summoned for questioning. Only after we were convinced that they were not involved in Gauri Lankesh’s murder, they were let off with a stern warning. Many of them have admitted that accused Rajesh D Bangera had trained them in firing pistols. Some of them will be treated as witnesses in the case,” a SIT official said.

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 SIT believes that it has identified everyone who was trained by the gang and hopes that murders or attacks on rationalists and writers will not recur in the state, at least for some years.

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

“We have not spared even a single person associated with the gang and have gathered details of each. Their activities will be on the police radar, as we have shared their details with agencies concerned, including the state Intelligence and the jurisdictional police,” the official added.

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

Amol Kale’s arrest is also touted as a major setback to the covert operations team.

“As Kale did everything, from recruiting new members to planning and executing murders, his arrest itself is a blow to his team and its members. Besides, key recruiters like Sujith Kumar and Manohar Edave, trainer Rajesh Bangera and other key members have also been arrested. The team has been left without leadership. Also, with each of its member being identified, we could say it’s almost impossible for them to rebuild the team,” the officer said.

Source: The New Indian Express