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

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.

CBI, Maharashtra CID must diligently probe deaths of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare as liberals fear threat to life: Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court said it was incumbent upon the CBI and the Maharashtra CID to conduct a fair probe into the deaths of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare as liberals and activists fear of being targeted if they voice their views in public.

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

A bench of justices SC Dharamadhikari and Bharati Dangre said it was imperative that the CBI and the Maharashtra CID ensure that a fair and impartial probe was conducted into the deaths in the light of this apprehension in the minds of liberals in the country.

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

“After the killings of Dabholkar and Pansare, some more similar incidents have taken place in the state of Karnataka. There is apprehension in the minds of liberals, and social activists that if they voice their opinions in public then they will be targeted,” the bench said.

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

“The authorities thus, must remember that they are obliged to conduct a fair and impartial probe. Also, this court will require a proper explanation on any delays in the investigations,” the bench noted.

The observations came after advocate Abhay Nevagi, the counsel for the family members of Dabholkar and Pansare, informed the high court that the state had enhanced the police security provided to Pansare’s family members.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

“This had made the family anxious, and they were wondering if there was any new threat to their safety,” Nevagi said.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by the kin of Dabholkar and Pansare seeking that the high court monitor the probe in both cases.

On the previous hearing,the HC had noted that the progress reports submitted by the CBI and the state CID into the killings of Dabholkar and Pansare, respectively, were “unsatisfactory”.

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

It had also summoned the Joint Director CBI, and the Additional Chief Secretary, Maharashtra Home Department.

Today, the CBI joint director and the head of the Maharashtra CID’s Special Investigations Team (SIT) were present in the high court.

The officers requested that they be granted a personal hearing by the bench in its chambers since they had some “sensitive” information related to the investigation into the above cases which they couldn’t share in the open court.

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

The bench, however, refused them such hearing stating that doing so would set a precedent.

“If there is some such sensitive information, you (the officials) can put it in writing and submit such report directly to our chambers instead of submitting it in the open court along with the case files,” the bench said.

Dabholkar, known as anti-superstition crusader, was shot dead on August 20, 2013, in Pune while on morning walk.

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

Left leader Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015, in Kolhapur. He succumbed to his injuries on February 20.

The CBI and the CID’s SIT probing killings of Dabholkar and Pansare, respectively, have been submitting periodic progress reports before the court in sealed covers.

In the past hearings, both agencies had told the high court that they were coordinating with the Karnataka Police that is probing the killings of writer MM Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh.

They had also said that they were keeping a watch on certain ‘Sansthas’ or organisations, referring to the Ponda-based Hindu extremist outfit Sanathan Sanstha, which was the nodal point to route funds for the killings.

Hearing a petition for a court-monitored probe into the killings of Pansare and Dabholkar, the high court had last October observed that there has been a “dangerous trend” of eliminating all opposition and liberal values, which is giving the country a bad name.

Source: PTI