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.

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.

Vaibhav Raut And Gang’s Main Targets Were Mumbai and Pune During Ganpati Festival

Vaibhav Raut, 40, who was named by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) following investigations and arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly plotting terror attacks at numerous places, had stored the crude bombs under his bed at his Nalasopara home.

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.

This is what the ATS remand report, filed while seeking police custody of Raut and his accomplices – Sharad Kalaskar, 25, held from Nalasopara, and Sudhanva Gondhalkar, alias Pandeji, 39, held from Pune – states.

As per the remand report, an informant gave the agency a tip-off on August 7 along with certain phone numbers, after which the three suspects were located.

Incidentally, one of the numbers the agency got was registered in someone else’s name in Vile Parle. Inquiry, however, revealed that the person had shifted to Nalasopara.

When the person was found, he told investigators that he had given the SIM to Raut, who had given it to Pandeji.

This helped the ATS to zero in on the three. Officers suspect that someone else’s SIM was being used to throw the police off track.

Line of investigation
The report has also revealed that though the suspects recceed many places, their main aim was to create disturbance in Mumbai and Pune.

Interrogation of the three led to the recovery of the bombs and other material, including two handwritten letters from Kalaskar in which the bomb-making technique was described in detail.

The agency is investigating whether Kalaskar was the sole in-charge of bomb-making, or the other two had a hand in it too. The ATS has also seized two one-litre bottles of poison.

A senior officer said samples have been sent to the Kalina forensic lab for testing, and they are trying to find out what the accused needed poison for.

Arms haul
ATS has recovered 20 crude bombs, several country-made pistol with magazines, country guns, airguns, pistol barrels, partially-made pistols, trigger mechanism, number plates of vehicles, a chopper, hard disks, pen drives etc.

The questioning of the trio led to the arrest of former Shiv Sena corporator Shrikant Pangarkar, 40, from Jalna.

He was the financier, who funded the bomb-making, and also the facilitator said ATS officers.

with inputs from Mid-day

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

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

Main Shooter in Narendra Dabholkar Murder Case Arrested, claims Mah ATS, CBI

New Delhi/Mumbai: The CBI on Saturday arrested the alleged main shooter in the murder case of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar in Maharashtra, the agency said.

According to PTI, Sachin Prakasrao Andure, a resident of Aurangabad, was nabbed from Pune late in the evening, a CBI spokesperson said.

He will be produced before a Pune court tomorrow, he added.

Andure was believed to be one of the shooters who fired at Dabholkar while he was on a morning walk on the Onkareshwar Bridge in Pune on August 20, 2013, the CBI spokesperson said.

Earlier, the CBI chargesheet had named Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar, both absconding, as the shooters.

Asked about this and the agency’s latest claim that Andure was one of the shooters, the spokesperson said the probe was going on.

Andure was arrested on a tip-off from the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which had last week arrested three persons for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to carry out blasts in the state.

One of the arrested accused gave the input about Andure’s involvement in Dabholkar’s murder, which the ATS shared with the CBI, the spokesperson said.

During the questioning of the accused in police custody, one of them revealed about his direct participation in Dabholkar’s murder, the ATS said in a statement.

“He further revealed that along with him, one more person was also directly involved and they used a motorcycle,” it added.

Considering the importance of the revelation, the ATS shared the details of the second person with the CBI, based on which the agency carried out its own preliminary investigation and arrested Andure, the statement said.

In June 2016, the CBI had filed a chargesheet against Hindu Janajagruti Samiti member Virendra Tawde under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of the IPC, among other charges.

Tawde was allegedly the mastermind of the killing, the CBI had said.

Late in the evening, a senior Maharashtra ATS official told PTI that of the three men arrested in the blast conspiracy case, it was Sharad Kalaskar who was also allegedly involved in the killing of Dabholkar.

The Bombay high court had, in May 2014, handed over the Dabholkar murder case to the CBI.

The CBI had arrested Tawde in June, 2016. An alleged follower of “Sanatan Sanstha” activist Sarang Akolkar, against whom a Red Corner Notice was issued by the Interpol on a request from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in July 2012 in connection with the 2009 Goa blast case, is also under the scanner of the agency.

Dabholkar’s murder and the murder of communist leader and rationalist Govind Pansare in a similar manner in February 2015 had sent shock waves throughout the state.

Source:  PTI

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

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.