Suspected right-wing activists wanted to target Sunburn Festival in Pune: ATS

The arrested right-wing activists were also involved in setting off a bomb outside a theatre at Kalyan, where controversial Hindi movie "Padmaavat" was being screened in January this year.

Published: 28th August 2018 11:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th August 2018 01:00 AM   |  A+A-

Maharashtra ATS

Members of Maharashtra’s anti-terrorism squad raid the house of Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut at Nalasopara in Palghar. The police seized more weapons on Monday (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: In a startling revelation, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Tuesday told the Sessions court in Mumbai that the accused in Nalasopara arms haul case also had plans to bombs the Western Music concert - Sunburn Festival in Pune as well as theatres and Belgaum and Kalyan where the Movie Padmavat was released.

The court then granted them the custody of the accused till September 3.

The ATS had arrested Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar and Sudhanva Gondhalekar on August 10 in connection with the arms and explosives seized from Nalasopara.

Former Shiv Sena corporator from Aurangabad Shrikant Pangarkar too was arrested in the case last week. The police produced all of them before the Court on Tuesday and pleaded for extending their custody.

Public prosecutor, Sunil Gonsalves told the Sessions Court that information decoded from Sharad Kalaskar's computer brought the fact to light that they were planning to bomb places like the Sunburn Festival in Pune and a show of movie Padmavat in cinema house at Belgaum and Kalyan too were on the list of places to be attacked.

All the accused are Hindu hardliners and they considered these things to be against Hindu culture, ATS told the court.

Some photographs have also been found in the CDs recovered from the accused and they need to be questioned about them as well, the ATS said.

Seized arms and ammunition were brought from states like Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, besides from various parts of Maharashtra and the police needed to find their actual source, it told the court.

The ATS has made a list of targets who were going to be attacked by the accused. Moreover, the agency wants to take the accused to states like Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for investigations as material to make bombs and weapons were procured from these states.

Among the nine training spots identified by the ATS only two are in Maharashtra, Gonsalves told the Court.

Pangarkar is said to have funded the entire operation and the ATS is looking if there were more sources of funding. The investigating agency also said that it needed to find the people who were providing training in handling of arms and ammunition and also those funding the operation.

After hearing their plea the court extended the custody of the four accused by a week.

Responding to a defence argument against invoking an anti-terror law in the case, the judge said the court could not consider, at this stage, whether the accused attracted the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as the matter was under investigation.


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