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  Metros   Mumbai  11 Aug 2018  ATS suspects Raut link in Lankesh murder

ATS suspects Raut link in Lankesh murder

Published : Aug 11, 2018, 2:16 am IST
Updated : Aug 11, 2018, 2:16 am IST

Cops have raided shops, home of the accused and seized 22 articles including 20 crude bombs.

Explosives materials were allegedly found at the house of one of the accused. (Photo: Mrugesh Bandiwadekar)
 Explosives materials were allegedly found at the house of one of the accused. (Photo: Mrugesh Bandiwadekar)

Mumbai: A special sessions court on Friday remanded three accused Sharad Kalaskar, Vaibhav Raut and Sudhanva Gondhalekar who were arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) to their custody till August 18. While giving their custody, the court said that allegations leveled against accused are ‘serious in nature’. Explosive  materials were allegedly found from the house of one of the accused and therefore the ATS needed their custody for further investigation, the court said.    

The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra, which carried out the arrests on the basis of a specific information, said it was investigating whether those arrested had any connections with the killings of journalist Gauri Lankesh and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. Vaibhav Raut (40), Sharad Kalaskar (25) and Sudhanwa Gondhalekar (39) were arrested following raids that began last night in the Palghar district and spanned to Pune, the police said.

According to ATS, on August 7 they received secret information that conspiracy was being hatched to conduct terrorist activities at Pune, Satara, Solapur and Nalasopara. ATS also received mobile number of suspected accused, accordingly they were kept under watch. Police have raided shops and home of the accused and seized 22 articles including 20 crude bombs and 2 gelatin sticks.  Thereafter, first information report (FIR) was registered and accused were booked under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC), explosive act, explosives substances act and unlawful activity prevention act.

Assistant public prosecutor (APP), Sunil Gonsalves, while seeking ATS custody argued that investigation is in preliminary stage and ATS wants to find out where these explosives were going to used, the source of the entire explosives, from where they received training and who is the master mind behind the whole conspiracy. “ We want to access mobile phone and social media accounts of the accused for investigation. We also want to find out whether these three accused are associated with any terrorist groups or notorious gangs,” said Mr Gonsalves.

Mr Gonslaves informed the court that all explosives were seized from the house and shops of accused Vaibhav Raut, and one chit was found from the house of Sharad Kalaskar, which contained how the bomb would be assembled. ATS seized mobile phones of both the accused and found that Sudhanva Gondhalekar was also involved in the crime and called for the inquiry.

Sanjiv Punalekar, counsel of accused argued that, according to the CCTV footage of Raut’s house, he was taken into custody on Wednesday. But his arrest was officially recorded on Friday at 3 pm, which is illegal. He also argued that as per criminal procedure, FIR should be registered first and then police should inquire. “Police should have sought search warrant before conducting searches,” said Mr Punalekar

All the three accused informed the court that, they were beaten by the officers. The court then directed police to examine them at the hospital and file a report till Monday.

Tags: vaibhav raut, gauri lankesh