Explosives seizure case: ATS arrests man from Mumbai; 5 held so far

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Mumbai | Published: August 25, 2018 5:26:45 PM

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which is investigating the recent seizure of explosives and arms in the state, has arrested one more person from Ghatkopar here, an official said today.

Explosives seizure case: ATS arrests man from Mumbai; 5 held so far

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which is investigating the recent seizure of explosives and arms in the state, has arrested one more person from Ghatkopar here, an official said today.

Avinash Pawar (30) was arrested last night and was today produced before a special court, which remanded him in ATS custody till August 31, the official said. Pawar, a worker with the Mazagoan Docks Ltd, is allegedly linked to a radical Hindu group, he said. He was involved in the conspiracy to carry out blasts and other terror activities in the state with Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar, Sudhanwa Gondhalekar and Shrikant Pangarkar, who were earlier arrested in the case, according to the ATS. Pawar’s name cropped up during the interrogation of the arrested persons, the official said.

“We have arrested Pawar under sections 4 and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act, read with Section 9(B) of the Explosives Act, Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 16 (punishment for terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy for terrorist act) and 20 (being a member of terrorist gang) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA),” he said. The ATS has seized a CPU from Pawar’s house and a mobile phone, which was used by him, the official said. 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.

After Raut’s arrest, the ATS 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. During the investigation, it was found that the arrested had links with radical Hindu outfits, the official said, adding that those linked to the accused are also being questioned.

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.

The arrested persons had a plan to trigger blasts at various places in the state, according to the investigators. Kalaskar, during his interrogation, had told the ATS that he, along with Aurangabad-resident Sachin Andure, shot dead Dabholkar. Andure was subsequently arrested in Pune on August 19 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). In a joint operation with the Maharashtra ATS, the CBI seized a pistol from the relative and friend of Andure. The agencies suspect that the pistol was used in the killing of Dabholkar, but it will be ascertained after the ballistic reports, the official had said.

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