In another major crackdown on Hindu right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha, the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in Mumbai conducted a raid on the residence of Vaibhav Raut, a member of the group as well as Hindu Janjagruti Samiti. The raid was conducted late on Thursday night at Raut’s house at Bandarali village in Nalasopara. Raut, who is a real estate agent, was arrested as the ATS seized 8 crude bombs and raw material. He will be produced in Bhoiwada court. Raut has been working with Sanatan Sanstha for 6 years.
As per an IE report, the search continued till the wee hours of the morning on Friday. The explosives have been handed over to the Mumbai Forensic Science Laboratory to ascertain the nature.
Meanwhile, the lawyer of the right-wing group member Sanjiv Punalekar said they will follow all legal steps. “Anti-Terrorism Squad has not intimated us about the arrest of Vaibhav Raut. Wonder what kind of law is being followed in this country and in Maharashtra. We’ll take all legal steps,” Punalekar was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Founded by Jayant Balaji Athavale in 1999, Sanatan Sanstha members have been allegedly associated with four bombings in Vashi, Thane, Panvel in 2017. Two Sanatan Sanstha workers, Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik, had died when the bomb they were ferrying to Margao city in Goa accidentally exploded in November 2009. They are also accused in the killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi and senior journalist Gauri Lankesh.
Recently, Goa-based Sahitya writer Damodar Mauzo said right-wing outfits such as Sanatan Sanstha should be banned as they are like “cancer” for the state. Mauzo has been provided security cover following intelligence inputs about a threat to his life. Mauzo said if action was taken against the Sanatan Sanstha in 2009 when its activists were found to be involved in a bomb blast in Margao, then people like Gauri Lankesh, and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, M M Kalburgi and Govind Pansare would not have been killed.