Free Press Journal

Explosives Haul case: Two sent to police custody till September 17


nalasopara arms haul case, motorcycles, Maharashtra, Maharashtra Ats, NIA, National Investigation Agency, Vasudev Suryavanshi, automobile mechanic

Mumbai: The two persons arrested from Jalgaon, Vasudev Suryavanshi and Vijay Lodhi, were remanded to the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad’s custody till September 17. The police claimed that they need to question the duo about the origin of three ‘explosive-like substances’ found at Suryavanshi’s house. The accused duo has been booked under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosives Act and Explosive Substances Act. Suryavanshi works as a mechanic at his uncle’s garage and Lodhi who works as an agent in the grocery market.

The duo, who were detained by the ATS on Thursday, brought to Mumbai on Friday and after two days of questioning the arrest was made on Saturday evening. In the raids conducted at the residences of Lodhi and Suryavanshi, police have seized two cars and six motorcycles, which were reportedly stolen from the western region of Maharashtra, along with other suspicious materials.

The duo was produced before Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Padalkar on Sunday afternoon, where the ATS said they suspect the accused had conducted a recce in Jalgaon and Nashik, with five others arrested in Nalasopara explosives haul. While seeking their remand, ATS said they need to confirm the suspicions, adding that the people opposing the Hindutva ideology and making anti-Hindu films were on their radar.

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The ATS also said that with the help of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS), they found two number plates, pen drives, two mobile phones along with three ‘explosive-like material’, suspected to be crude bombs from Lodhi’s residence, similar to the ones found at Vaibhav Raut’s residence in Nalasopara. The police have recovered three mobile phones, a pen drive and five pocket diaries from Suryavanshi’s residence in Saakli. The ATS has sent the seized explosive to the Forensic Science Laboratories (FSL) in Kalina to find out the substances used in it.

Defence lawyer and secretary of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, Sanjiv Punalekar said, “The accused were taken into custody on September 6, three days before their legal arrest. As per the law, the arrest should be shown from that day itself as they were detained on that day. However, the legal arrest was shown on Saturday. As per my knowledge, the men did not have any connection with any organisation.”

A month after the Nalasopara explosives haul was unearthed on August 9, the ATS has arrested seven persons in the case, who have been identified as Vaibhav Raut, Sudhanva Gondhalekar, Sharad Kalaskar, Avinash Pawar, Shrikant Pangarkar, Vasudev Suryavanshi and Vijay Lodhi. Some of the arrested accused were allegedly linked to Hindu extremist outfits, who had planned an explosion at the location of a popular western music festival ‘Sunburn’ which takes place in Pune.