Mumbai: In a new development in the Nalasopara explosives case, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Monday informed a special court that one of the arrested accused gave a demonstration to prepare bombs. The agency also informed the court that another accused in the case revealed how they robbed the bikes used to conduct reconnaissance (recce) of activists and artists, who were vocal against Hindutva.
The revelation was made by the ATS prosecutor before a special court designated to hear cases under the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The Public Prosecutor (PP) Sunil Gonsalves made these revelations before the court while seeking further police custody of the arrested accused Leeladhar Lodhi and Vasudev Suryavanshi.
Gonsalves said, the agency seeks an extension of their custody as it has to ascertain from whom did these accused purchased the seized arms and ammunition. “During our investigations, Lodhi demonstrated before the investigating officers how he made bombs. He even prepared a bomb in front of our officers,” Gonsalves said.
“Suryavanshi has explained how they robbed motorbikes which were used to conduct a recce of the numerous artists and activists. These people on the hit list of the accused, for holding different views on Hindutva,” Gonsalves submitted.
He further informed the court that different parts of the bikes robbed by Suryavanshi were found in a river at Beed, Marathwada, during the investigations. “We want to know from these accused as to who provided them with a large number of arms and ammunitions apprehended from them. Also, the mastermind behind this entire arms haul case and to ascertain if any other key people outside Maharashtra have provided any help to these accused,” Gonsalves said while urging the court to extend the police custody.
The application filed by the ATS seeking police custody was vehemently opposed by Sanjeev Punalekar, the advocate representing the accused. Having heard the submissions advanced, special Judge Vinod Padalkar refused to extend the police custody. “From the very first day of this case, the ATS has been making the same submissions as far as these accused are concerned. I have gone through the material placed before me but the same falls short for this court to grant police custody. Thus, the accused are now remanded to judicial custody,” Judge Padalkar said.