Free Press Journal

Aware of ex-councillor Pangarkar’s Sanatan Sanstha links: Maharashtra minister Arjun Khotkar


Mumbai: Maharashtra minister Arjun Khotkar today said that he was aware of arrested former corporator Shrikant Pangarkar’s links with right-wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha, but did not bother to find out more as the latter had left the Shiv Sena in 2011.

Pangarkar was arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) yesterday in connection with the seizure of crude bombs and weapons from different parts of the state between August 9 and 11.

“In Jalna, almost everybody knew Pangarkar had started working with the Sanatan Sanstha. He was active in Sanstha’s work but I am not aware of the details,” Khotkar, a senior Sena leader from Jalna and the Minister of State for Textiles, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development in the Maharashtra government, told PTI today. “He was a councillor with the (Shiv) Sena in Jalna Municipal Council from 2001 till 2011. After he was denied a ticket in 2011, he left the Sena. I came to know later that he is getting more interested in the Sanatan’s work,” the minister said.

Khotkar said that his colleagues had told him that Pangarkar was not living in Jalna for the last few years. “As he was not an active member of Sena, I did not bother to find out more about him,” Khotkar said. To a query on whether he was aware of Pangarkar’s plans or alleged inclination towards violence, Khotkar said that he was not aware of those.

Pangarkar was remanded in the custody of the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) till August 28 by a Mumbai court today. On August 10, three persons — Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar and Sudhanwa Gondhalekar — were arrested by the ATS from Palghar and Pune districts in connection with the seizure of a large number of bombs and weapons. The prosecution today told the court of Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Padalkar that, prime facie, Pangarkar was funding Raut, Kalaskar and Gondhalekar.