The Maharashtra government has found that the five arrested in the explosives seizure case had links with Sanatan Sanstha sympathizers and would send details to the Centre to ban the radical Hindutva outfit, a police official said on Tuesday.
The state government had sent a proposal to ban the Sanatan Sanstha to the Centre in 2015. It decided to send the details so that it can be added to the proposal, the official said.
The Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) probing the recent seizure of explosives, has so far arrested five persons – Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar, Sudhanva Gondhalekar, Shrikant Pangarkar and Avinash Pawar.
“During the investigation, it was found that all the arrested persons had links with right wing Hindutva organisations and also with the sympathisers of the Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS),” he said.
The social media accounts and online activities of the arrested also suggest these links, he added.
“The proposal to ban Sanatan Sanstha was sent to the Union government by the state in 2015. We will now send the details of the current (explosives seizure) case to be added in the proposal, after which the criminal record of the group will be updated,” a police official said.
The investigating agency is focusing on establishing the links of the arrested accused with the Sanatan Sanstha and “We are gathering evidence in this regard”, he said.
The ATS has booked the five persons under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), besides other terror charges “It is mandatory to inform the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) about any case of UAPA within 24 hours of the action.”
“The ATS, accordingly, has sent a status report on the recent terror case made out by it under the UAPA against the arrested,” the official said.
He said though the Sanatan Sanstha claims that the arrested are not their members, its offshoot organises rallies and marches in support of the accused.
The Sanstha has claimed that the people arrested in connection with the case from various parts of Maharashtra and those allegedly involved in the killing of rationalists are not its members.
Sanstha spokesperson Chetan Rajhans had earlier told reporters that a few people with “progressive mindset”, along with political parties such as the Congress and the Left block, were putting the Sanstha in the dock without providing any evidence of wrongdoing.
On August 10, the ATS had arrested Raut (40), who ran the “Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti”, a little-known pro-cow protection outfit, at Nallasopara in Palghar district.
The ATS, after Raut’s arrest, had nabbed Kalaskar (25) and Gondhalekar (39), following raids in Palghar and Pune districts. Pangarkar, a former Shiv Sena corporator from Jalna, was arrested on August 19, while last Saturday the ATS arrested Avinash Pawar from Ghatkopar in Mumbai.
The ATS has recovered a huge cache of explosives, arms and ammunition, including 7.65 mm pistols and material to prepare Improvised Electric Devices (IED), incriminating documents, notes, chits, laptops, mobiles, hard disks in the raid at various places, including Nallasopara, Pune, Aurangabad, Solapur and other parts of Maharashtra.