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‘Drugs’ found at Sanatan ashram

| ABHISHEK SHARAN AND NIVEDITA NIRANJANKUMAR
Published : Sep 10, 2016, 2:03 am IST
Updated : Sep 10, 2016, 2:03 am IST

The Maharashtra police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is probing the February 2015 murder of communist leader Govind Pansare, allegedly seized 20 boxes of restricted drugs — including sleep

Vinod Tawade
 Vinod Tawade

The Maharashtra police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is probing the February 2015 murder of communist leader Govind Pansare, allegedly seized 20 boxes of restricted drugs — including sleeping pills and suppressants — from the Panvel-based premises of right-wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha’s ashram in a recent search. While the seized drugs have been sent for a chemical-analyser test, the state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will initiate its own probe against firms that supplied the drugs to the ashram without authorisations as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

Confirming the seizure, a SIT source said the drugs allegedly came under the category of drugs listed in schedule IV, which can impact on the central nervous system and are prohibited from being sold without a prescription. The drugs were found without proper documents including prescriptions, claimed the source. The drugs were found at an ashram dispensary. “The SIT has sent the drugs for chemical analyser’s tests at a state facility in Alibaug to authenticate its composition and determine the purposes for which they could have been stored and used. It is suspected that the drugs were being used to control the mind of followers at the ashram,” said the SIT source. An FDA team had accompanied the SIT officers during their conduct of searches at the Panvel ashram on September 5.

FDA’s joint commissioner (vigilance) Harish Baijal told The Asian Age, “The FDA will do its own probe under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act against firms that supplied the recovered drugs from the ashram.”

The Sanstha’s spokesperson Abhay Vartak, however, said, “They went to the ashram dispensary at about 4 am and suddenly picked up a box full of drugs and claimed that these were narcotic or psychotropic in nature and seized these. One of our resident’s mother is paralysed waist down and she has been prescribed sedatives by a local hospital to help her sleep better. They seized these too and said sedatives are narcotics,” Mr Vartak said.

A few suspected members of the Sanstha and its allied groups are under the scanner of the CBI.

Ban Sanatan Sanstha: Vikhe-Patil After the CBI filed a chargesheet against Virendra Tawade in connection with the killing of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar, leader of the opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil asked the government on Friday to ban Sanatan Sanstha, an ultra-right organisation that Tawade is a member of. “What more evidence does the government need to ban Sanatan Sanstha We have been demanding a ban on the organisation since the beginning. But the state government has never taken any firm stand against the organisation,” Mr Vikhe-Patil said. He also criticised CM Devendra Fadnavis, who holds the home portfolio as well, for his failure in preventing the Sanstha’s activities. “The Sanstha is openly threatening social activists and writers since the state government is not taking any strict action against the organisation. The government is responsible for the rising crime rate in the state. The CBI has exposed the culprits in the Dabholkar and Pansare killings and the state home department has failed to nab the culprits,” the Congress leader said.