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

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).

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

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

August 21, 2018: As more and more skeletons tumble out of the closets of the terror accused, it seems that several senior Shiv Sena (SS) leaders including boss Uddhav Thackeray were aware of former SS Jalna corporator Shrikant Pangarkar‘s terror links and his plans to carry out ‘bomb blasts’ in parts of Maharashtra.

Uddhav Thackeray was not available for comment. But the Shiv Sena’s silence on the entire issue and particularly after MoS Arjun Khotkar’s comments went viral on Monday, speaks volumes.

Thackeray refused to comment or speak to other publications on the arrest of his former corporator.

Even 48 hours after Pangarkar was arrested and his terror activity became public, there was no official condemnation of his actions from the Shiv Sena, though party spokespersons tried their best to wash their hands off the episode and refused to speak to media persons on the topic.

According to an Indian Express report, Minister of State Arjun Khotkar confessed that several party leaders were in touch with Pangarkar regularly, and that he had talked about his Sanatan Sanstha links and even “explosion” plans.

Pangarkar’s family now claims that though he was not in the party, he was in touch will almost all senior Shiv Sena leaders and kept them in the know of what he was up to.

“The Shiv Sena was fully aware of what Pangarkar was doing and even promised to support him,” a family member told IndiaScoops.com on Tuesday.

One of the Sena leaders had brought Pangarkar’s activity to the notice of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who had asked him to ‘keep an eye’ on Pangarkar and report to him if he was up to any trouble.

However the leader forgot the instructions given by the SS boss, resulting in the accumulation of a huge cache of arms and explosives by Vaibhav Raut at his Nala Sopara home and office for the use in terror activities in Maharashtra during Eid and Ganapati.

Senior Shiv Sena leaders thought Pangarkar was ‘bragging as usual’ and didn’t give him any importance or think seriously about his ‘explosions’ and bomb blasts plans.

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

Pangarkar is learnt to have contributed Rs 12 to Rs 13 lakh over the last six months to procure gun-powder, 25 pistols, detonators, timers, material to make about 40 bombs, etc. The plan was to manufacture 40-50 bombs and have an arsenal of over 50 weapons and ammunition. 

According to a Mid-day report, Pangarkar, was the main financier of the right-wing terror group suspected of making crude bombs and country-made guns seized in Nalasopara on August 10.

However, sources in the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) said that Pangarkar was a mere ‘puppet’, and they are trying to identify the real mastermind. The sources added that Pangarkar was being questioned since August 18, and officers had searched his residences at Aurangabad and Jalna as well.’

According to MoS Arjun Khotkar’s interview to the Indian Express, Pangarkar met Bhaskar Ambekar, the Mumbai chief of the Sena recently , about ten days earlier, and appraised him of his plans, including the plot to carry out explosions.

Ambekar shared the information with Khotkar, who was not sure if Pangarkar was lying and merely ‘bragging’. However, Ambekar sent word of Pangarkar’s ‘claims’ to the Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s office and was instructed to ‘keep an eye on Pangarkar’.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Sunday arrested a former Shiv Sena corporator from Jalna, Shrikant Pangarkar, as part of its investigation into the plot to carry out attacks in five cities of Maharashtra by radical Hindu groups.

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

Three persons Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar and Sudhanwa Gondhalekar were earlier arrested earlier in the case, but Pangarkar’s is the first political arrest.

The others were linked to far-right organisations Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) and were associated with other hardliners across the country.

According to a Mumbai Mirror report, Pangarkar, who was produced in the sessions court on Monday, is also suspected to have funded the weapons training of Raut and his aides, Sharad Kalaskar and Sudhanva Gondhalekar, who were arrested on August 10 for allegedly conspiring to carry out terror attacks in the state.

The investigating agency believes that Raut, Kalaskar and Gondhalekar also planned to target the rally sites of Maratha Kranti Morcha, the agitation by the Maratha community to get reservation in jobs and education. Besides, Kalaskar and Gondhalekar are suspected to have been involved in Dabholkar’s killing.

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

Sources said during interrogation, the other accused claimed that Pangarkar had helped assemble the explosives and store them, reports The Indian Express.

ATS sources told IndiaScoops.com that Pangarkar wanted to set off explosions in 12 to 14 places in Maharashtra and shake up the government machinery.

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

The aim of this group was to create a fear psychosis in the minds of the people, creating fear among Hindus and pointing the finger of suspicion towards the minority community, an officer told IndiaScoops.com.

While the Shiv Sena said it didn’t have any links with Pangarkar now, senior leader and Minister of State Arjun Khotkar admitted several party leaders were in touch with him, and that he had talked about his Sanatan Sanstha links and even “explosion” plans, reports the Indian Express.

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

Twenty-two crude bombs and 21 country-made weapons have so far been recovered from the accused in the case, who were allegedly planning to carry out attacks in Mumbai, Solapur, Satara, Pune and Nalasopara.

Pangarkar was a corporator in Jalna Municipal Council for two terms, from December 2001 to December 2011.

The Shiv Sena said he had not been with the party for many years and was not an office-bearer.

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

“He had not been in touch with the Sena for almost eight years,” said Khotkar, MoS, Textiles, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development and a senior Sena leader from Jalna.

Party sources said Pangarkar had rebelled after being denied a Sena ticket in 2011.

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

However, Khotkar admitted meeting him “twice or thrice in the past few years”, and hinted that Pangarkar had links with the controversial radical Hindu outfit, Sanatan Sanstha, and had even dropped hints of carrying out some blasts in the State, reports the Indian Express.

“During our conversation, when I asked him what he was doing, he said he was working for the Sanatan Sanstha in Assam, Goa and a few other states and was addressing big gatherings and holding workshops,” said Khotkar.

“Around 10 days ago, he had met Bhaskar Ambekar, the Mumbai chief of the Sena. Later, Ambekar told me about the conversation, in which Pangakar said to watch out for something big in the future and talked about explosions. But Pangarkar didn’t say anything specifically about where and how. Also, we don’t know whether he was speaking the truth. Police may be able to ascertain that.”

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

Ambekar’s phone remained switched off and he was unavailable for comment.

The other three arrested by the ATS in the case are Vaibhav Raut (40), an alleged member of the Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti, who is also said to be a sympathiser of the Sanatan Sanstha, Sudhanwa Gondhalekar (39), who hails from Satara and is a member of the Shri Shivapratishthan Hindustan, and Sharad Kalaskar (25), who was arrested along with Raut from Raut’s Nalasopara residence.

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

Sanatan Sanstha activists are believed to have links with the murders of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M M Kalburgi and senior journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Pangarkar’s name first cropped up during the questioning of Kalaskar, and he was called to join the investigation on Saturday. “He is being probed in connection with the explosives recovered. We suspect he was aware of the conspiracy of the blasts and also the previous killings executed by the group. We are questioning him on the same,” a senior ATS official said.

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

Sources in the CBI, which is investigating the Dabholkar killing, said, “So far Pangarkar’s name hasn’t emerged in the case and therefore we haven’t summoned him.”

with inputs from Indian Express, Mid-day, Mumbai Mirror

Red-faced Shiv Sena tries to wash hands off former corporator Shrikant Pangarkar, accused of terror links

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Source: The Tribune

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

MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, Goa Congress demands a ban on Sanatan Sanstha

PANAJI: The Congress in Goa has demanded a ban on the Sanatan Sanstha, which is under the scanner for the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and others including journalist Gauri Lankesh, even as it targeted Sudin Dhavalikar for his “close links” with the right wing outfit.

The right-wing radical outfit has come under the scanner after a huge cache of arms including 11 pistols, 5 unfinished pistols, explosives and other bomb-making material enough to make 50 bombs was seized from their ‘seekers’ or ‘sadaks’ at Palghar in Maharashtra.

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

Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco released a video where he mentioned his reservations about the activities of the Sanatan Sanstha and demanded a ban on the outfit.

According to Lourenco, Goa and Goans, irrespective of their religion or community are peace-loving people who have lived in perfect harmony with each other. An outfit like the Sanatan Sanstha which is instigating communities against each other and whose leaders make provocative statements against the minority community are not welcome in Goa.

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

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.

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

The involvement of the Sanatan Sanstha has cropped up in several acts of violence and terror including the murder of rationalists Dabholkar, Pansare and Kulbargi as well as journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Raut was among the three persons arrested by the Maharashtra ATS last week for possession of explosives, arms and other weapon and explosive manufacturing materials.

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

ATS sources said the accused had collected material to manufacture about 50 bombs and was trying to put together about 150 pistols for terror activity use in the next 6-8 months.

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

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 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 revelaed. Imported arms were procured from Assam.

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

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

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 revelaed. Imported arms were procured from Assam.

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

“The activities of Sanatan Sanstha should be banned from immediate effect. One of their seekers (follower) has been arrested by CBI in connection with the Dabholkar murder case, while another one (Sarang Akolkar) is on the run since the Margao bomb blast in 2009,” a Congress spokesperson said.

“We demand that the Sanatan Sanstha be declared as terror organisation and banned. We had written to the union ministry in the past but they said that it is a state matter,” Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco said.

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

Sanatan Sanstha is headquartered at Ramnathi village, 30 kms from Panaji, near Ponda town.

Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar said, “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 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

“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: Sanatan Sanstha members Raut, Gondhalekar, etc., linked to PM Modi, Amit Shah, VHP and RSS

Referring to the threat to writer Damodar 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 don’t want institutions like the Sanatan Sanstha which work like extra-constitutional bodies,” Mr Acharya said. “We strongly demand a ban on it so that it can’t spread hatred in Goa any further.”

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

The Congress Goa spokesperson questioned that “if Pramod Muthalik can be banned then why not Sanatan Sanstha?”

Goa government has banned the entry of Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik in the state citing law and order issues.

At least 20 more under ATS scanner for links to arrested Sanatan Sanstha members

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad has questioned at least 16 people for their possible links to the three men arrested for allegedly planning to carry out blasts in the state, a police official said on Saturday.

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

ATS sources said they have got the names of 20 people who were either instrumental in procuring materials for making the bombs or were funding the operation. All of them will be questioned in the next 2-3 days, officials said.

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

The ATS on Friday arrested Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar from Nallasopara near Mumbai and Sudhanva Gondhalekar from Pune. Following raids at Raut’s residence and shop, the ATS claimed to have seized a huge quantity of explosives, including 20 crude bombs and bomb circuit drawings.

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 chief Atulchandra Kulkarni said they will probe if the arrested men had any connection with the killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare and journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut from whom 8 bombs and explosives were seized was actively involved with Sanatan Sanstha for last 6 years

The ATS also questioned at least 16 others from Nallasopara, Pune, Satara, Solapur and elsewhere in the state for suspected links to the three men, the police official said.

He, however, did not reveal if more arrests were likely to happen.

Police are also probing if the arrested men were part of social media groups of like-minded people by examining their mobile phones, he said. Their mobile phones will be sent to a forensic science laboratory for analysis, he added.

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

Raut’s purported social media account mentioned he was associated with the right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha, but the group yesterday denied he was its member.

A court in Mumbai yesterday remanded the three men in ATS custody till August 18.

According to Mumbai Mirror, the name of Sanatan Sanstha, a right-wing organisation based in Goa, cropped up in the murders of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and veteran Leftist leader Govind Pansare after the arrests of two of its members.

Also Read: Congress, NCP demand immediate ban on ‘terror outfit’ Sanatan Sanstha

Dr Virendra Tawde, the main accused in the murder of Pansare, used to work as an organiser for the Sanstha in Kolhapur. He received bail from a local court earlier this year, but continued to remain behind bars as he is also a prime accused in Dabholkar’s murder.

Another Sanatan Sanstha worker, Samir Gaikwad, was also arrested in connection with Pansare murder, reports Mumbai Mirror.

While Dabholkar was gunned down in Pune in 2013, Pansare was shot dead in Kolhapur in 2015.

Investigators also suspect the involvement of the same set of right-wing elements behind the murder of Karnataka professor MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.

However, the outfit has vehemently denied any role in the killings.

People with links to the Sanstha was also arrested for carrying out the Madgaon bomb blasts in 2009 in which two of its sadhaks died. Two members of the outfit were also convicted in the Thane bomb blast.

with inputs from PTI and Mumbai Mirror

More raids on in Pune and Aurangabad, after Sanatan Sanstha member and bomb-maker Vaibhav Raut’s arrest, 2 more held in Pune and Palghar

In multiple raids across Maharashtra, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Friday arrested two more people after at least eight country-made bombs along with other explosives and literature were seized from the residence of Vaibhav Raut, a Sanatan Sanstha sympathiser earlier today.

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

While Raut has been arrested and is being questioned by police, two others were arrested from Pune and Palghar, reports the Indian Express.

More raids are currently underway in Pune and Aurangabad at the time of going to press, but the police are not revealing any further details.

The police have got several inputs and are following up all the leads.

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

All the three arrested accused were brought before the sessions court before being remanded to police custody till August 18.

Under the supervision of a senior IPS-rank officer, an ATS team raided the home of Vaibhav Raut in the wee hours of Friday and searches continued till early morning. Raut is likely to be placed under arrest and produced before a local court, sources told the Indian Express.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut from whom 8 bombs and explosives were seized was actively involved with Sanatan Sanstha for last 6 years

According to further news updates, the court remanded Raut to police custody till August 18.

The explosives have been handed over to the Mumbai Forensic Science Laboratory to ascertain its nature.

“We want to know source of these explosives and how Raut intended to use them and therefore his custodial interrogation is necessary,” said an official requesting anonymity.

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

While the right-wing terror outfit denied Raut being an active member, Sanatan Sanstha advocate Sanjeev Punelikar told the press that Raut was acquainted to its member.

“Raut had been externed by the Palghar police in connection with a beef ban case. While he is a Hindutva worker, he isn’t our member. However I doubt the ATS claim of he hoarding explosives,” he said.

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

Punelikar added that the outfit will provide Raut legal aid.

After the arrest of far-right extremist Vaibhav Raut, said to be an active member of the Sanatan Sanstha, videos and other evidence has surfaced on social media which shows that Raut was linked not just with the Sanstha, but was closely associated with the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, the Sri Ram Sena and several other far-right extremist Hindutva organisations.

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

He was also part of an unnamed secret core group or unit or hit team formed by pulling in hardliners from different Hindutva outfits and trained or tasked to kill and eliminate anti-Hindu voices.

Writer and journalist was one of the victims of this unnamed killer unit. The police suspect that the murders of liberalists Dhabolkar, Pansare and Kulbargi were carried out by the same team.

with inputs from the Indian Express

Arrested Palghar Hindutva activist Vaibhav Raut was actively involved with Sri Ram Sene, Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Sanstha

After the arrest of far-right extremist Vaibhav Raut, said to be an active member of the Sanatan Sanstha, videos and other evidence has surfaced on social media which shows that Raut was linked not just with the Sanstha, but was closely associated with the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, the Sri Ram Sena and several other far-right extremist Hindutva organisations.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut from whom 8 bombs and explosives were seized was actively involved with Sanatan Sanstha for last 6 years

He was also part of an unnamed secret core group or unit or hit team formed by pulling in hardliners from different Hindutva outfits and trained or tasked to kill and eliminate anti-Hindu voices.

Writer and journalist was one of the victims of this unnamed killer unit. The police suspect that the murders of liberalists Dhabolkar, Pansare and Kulbargi were carried out by the same team.

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

The Sanatan Sanstha has denied accepting Vaibhav Raut as their active member.

Sanatan Sanstha advocate Sanjeev Punelikar told the press that Raut was acquainted with its member, but was not a seeker of the Sanatan.

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

“Raut had been externed by the Palghar police in connection with a beef ban case. While he is a Hindutva worker, he isn’t our member. However I doubt the ATS claim of he hoarding explosives,” said Punelikar.

Even after, disassociating Vaibhav Raut from Sanatan Sanstha, the advocate added that the outfit would provide Raut legal aid as reported by the Indian Express.

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

Sanatan Sanstha officials said Raut is being framed by the police because he was an active gau-rakshak.

As soon as the news of Raut being caught with explosives took to social media, another video of Vaibhav Raut has surfaced on the internet. In the video, he is seen “requesting” women to dress “appropriately” so that men do not get “distracted”.

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

The Sanatan Sanstha issued a press note claiming that Vaibhav Raut was a part of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS). However, he has not been active for the past couple of months.

HJS Maharashtra organiser Sunil Ghanvat said Raut is a fearless cow protector (gau rakshak).

But he denied Raut was actively involved with his organisation.

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

Both the Sanatan Sanstha and the HJS got into a war of words, each trying to deny Raut’s association with their organisation, claiming that he was just a sympathizer.

According to videos being circulated on Facebook and Twitter, Raut was also involved with the Sri Ram Sene and conducted seminars and workshops for the outfit.

A video of Vaibhav Raut has surfaced on the internet where he is speaking on behalf of the Sri Ram Sene. In the video, he is seen “requesting” women to dress “appropriately” so that men do not get “distracted”.