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.
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.