Mumbai: A sessions court in Mumbai Tuesday remanded four suspected right-wing activists in judicial custody in the case pertaining to the seizure of explosives from various parts of Maharashtra last month. The accused, Liladhar Lodhi and Vasudev Suryawanshi, were arrested by the ATS from Jalgaon district of North Maharashtra on September 8.
The two other accused, Bharat Kurne and Sujeeth Kumar, basically arrested in the murder case of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, had been remanded in the custody of the ATS earlier this month. All the accused were produced before Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Padalkar, after their custody expired Tuesday. The ATS argued for the extension of the custody of Kurne and Kumar.
Prima facie, the accused duo were part of a conspiracy to target those persons who disrespected or criticised the Hindu religion and culture, the ATS said. Kurne and Kumar mainly used stolen vehicles for travelling and used fake number plates, the agency told the court.
Accused Suryawanshi had shown them the places in Karnataka from where the vehicles were stolen, the agency told court. The ATS said they need to find out the owners of these stolen vehicles and the persons providing fake number plates. Suryawanshi had also shown the place where he had received training in operating firearms at the behest of Lodhi. The ATS told the court that they need to find the person who provided the training.
The agency has recovered parts of the vehicles destroyed by the accused from various areas and are trying to trace the owners of the vehicles. However, after hearing the arguments, the judge observed that some points put forth by the ATS are repeated from previous remand applications.
The court then remanded all the accused in the judicial remand of 14 days. The ATS had last month arrested Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar, Sudhanwa Gondhalekar, Shrikant Pangarkar and Avinash Pawar following seizure of explosive materials and arms from various places in the state, the agency had said. Some of the accused were allegedly linked to radical Hindu groups. Among other things, they were planning to target a western music festival in Pune, the ATS had said.