Mumbai: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has expressed shock over the support extended by Shiv Sena party to the extreme right-wing outfit, the Sanatan Sanstha. A fourth person, Shrikant Pangarkar, arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) from Jalna on Sunday was a former corporator of the Sena. The NCP reminded Sena leaders of the involvement of this organisation in various bomb blasts. “At least now Sena leaders should stop backing such divisive forces, else some more of their leaders are likely to get arrested. Hence, the Sena needs to become aware in time,” advised Nawab Malik, the national spokesperson of NCP.
The ATS has conducted raids and arrested Vaibhav Raut, from whose bungalow they seized a cache of arms, explosives and bomb-making tools. This was followed by the arrests of Sharad Kalaskar, Sudanva Gondhalekar, Pangarkar and Sachin Andure. Andure is said to be the killer of Dr Narendra Dabholkar, the rationalist doctor who was killed in Pune five years ago. The arrest on Sunday was made after the ATS got a specific input from the trio during their investigation. After Karnataka Police found a link between the murders of rationalist writers MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh, they shared the information they had got from their investigations with the Maharashtra ATS. After the groundwork and months of tracking the call records of certain people, the ATS made its first arrest of Raut and the others.
Last week, a few people participated in a morcha in support of the Sanatan recruits, claiming them to be innocent. Malik said police should be given a free hand to investigate the cases in detail. “Till the investigations are complete, one cannot say at this moment all the cases have been opened,” said Malik.