The state had sent recommendation to Centre, as the state government did not have power to impose a ban under UAPA.
Mumbai: The Central government on Tuesday informed the Bombay high court that it has not found any satisfactory material under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) to declare right-wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha as a terror outfit and impose a ban on it. The HC has asked the Union government to inform the court in the form of an affidavit when HC takes up the matter for final hearing on March 7.
The Central government on Tuesday told the HC that the evidence and other material sent by the state government were not conclusive and hence it cannot declare the organisation as a terror outfit. It had made a similar affirmation in October last year.
The division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P R Bora sought affidavit on the issue while hearing a petition filed by Vijay Rokade seeking a ban on Sanstha, on the ground that members of the organisation have allegedly carried out terror activities in Panvel and Thane. The petition was filed in 2010.
The HC was informed that as per report submitted by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) the state government had forwarded a proposal to the Central government in 2012 recommending a ban on the organisation. The state had sent recommendation to Centre, as the state government did not have power to impose a ban under UAPA.
Speaking to The Asian Age, Sanstha’s lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar said, “Correspondence is going on between the Maharashtra government and the Centre with regards to putting a ban on the organisation, but no concrete evidence was provided to the Union government by the state. The same was informed to the court.”
In April 2012, the state government filed an affidavit in the case claiming that the additional chief secretary (Home) had addressed a letter to the director of Union Home Ministry informing it that three cases in connection with bomb blasts have been registered against Sanatan Sanstha. According to the affidavit the government of Maharashtra had reached the conclusion that Sanatan Sanstha organisation was liable to be banned under the UAPA.
Two alleged members of the organisation were arrested and chargesheeted in August 2013 in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case and in February 2015 in the Govind Pansare murder case. While the CBI chargesheeted Dr Virendra Tawde in the Dabholkar case in September 2016, the Maharashtra police’s SIT chargesheeted Sameer Gaikwad in the Pansare case in December 2015. The SIT later chargesheeted Tawde in the Pansare case as well in November 2016. The sanstha has denied any role in the rationalists murder cases.