Palghar arms haul case: ATS chargesheet reveals role of Hindu groups in terror plot

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Mumbai : The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATSS) on Wednesday made shocking revelations of the alleged role of various Hindu organisations in the Palghar arms haul case of August this year and the subsequent unveiling of a terror plot targeting several cities and rationalists in the state.

Following investigations, the ATS had nabbed two persons from Nalasopara (Palghar) and one from Pune who were planning to carry out terror acts in Mumbai and the upcoming Sunburn music festival scheduled in Pune.

The three revealed the involvement of a dozen others in the conspiracy of whom nine who have been arrested, and three are still absconding, said an ATS official.

“During investigation, it was revealed that the members of the terrorist gang are also members of organisations such as ‘Sanathan Sanstha’, ‘Hindu Janjagruti’ and other similar smaller organisations,” said the ATS, in a detailed chargesheet filed before the Special NIA Court in Mumbai on Wednesday.

During the swoop on a bungalow and other premises in Nalasopara, the ATS had recovered 20 live country bombs, two gelative sticks, four electric and 22 non-electric detonators, two complete and one incomplete PCB circuits, six battery connectors and six transistors, four relay switches, two gelatine sticks, safety fuse wires, a multimeter, soldering machine and soldering equipment, two one-litre bottles on which word ‘poison’ was written and different varieties of explosive substances.

The ATS said the three had formed a terror gang, stored the explosive material, made and stored the bombs when they were arrested.

From the seized diaries, details of terror training camps, the planning for terrorist acts to be executed and the connected conspiracy in coded languages were revealed which the accused helped decipher.

The accused had also stopped using their personal mobile phones during execution of a conspiracy and instead used separate handsets with SIM cards registered in different names.

Subsequent investigations led to seizures of 23 live country made bombs, 15 pistols, one countrymade weapon, one partially completed countrymade weapon, three pistols without barrels, 10 pistol barrels, six pistol magazines, three partially made pistol magazines, seven pistol slides, 41 live rounds of ammunition of assorted bores, 26 electric/non-electric detonators, tools and raw-material to make country bombs and firearms.

In addition, the ATS seized several pen drives, memory cards, hard discs, eight number plates of vehicles, copies of Marathi book ‘Kshatra Dharma Sadhana’, several pocket diaries and note books, from Nalasopara, Thane, Natepute in Solapur, Satara, and Sakli in Jalgaon.

Besides, two motor cars and five motorcycles and parts of a dismantled motor cycle were seized from Pune, Nalasopara, Satara, Kolhapur and Beed and locations where the terrorist gang arranged their training.

The ATS said the accused were inspired to make efforts for establishing a “so-called Hindu Rashtra”, as explained in the book ‘Kshatra Dharma Sadhana’, published by Sanatan Sanstha. They had conspired to form a terrorist gang of youths with similar mindset, which work towards undermining unity, integrity, security and sovereignty of the country.”

For achieving this, the gang planned to use the weapons and explosives to target individuals who speak, write or perform against the Hindu religion, its traditions and customs besides targeting similar programmes to terrorise the minds of the common people.

The ATS revealed that the terror gang planned to attack the international ‘Sunburn’ festival in Pune this month using the bomb and firearms to “send a strong message to the followers of Western music and Western culture and terrorise those attending it.”

The gang had recceed and was completely prepared to undertake the attack on the music festival, but abandoned it after one of the accused informed his associates that he had possibly been captured in one of the CCTV cameras installed at the programme venue.

The terror gangs also had recceed at least three rationalists, speakers and litterateurs who targeted the Hindu religion and its traditions and customs, but their names have not been revealed.

The ATS chargesheet has named the 12 accused: Sharad Bhausaheb Kalskar 25; Vaibhav Subhash Raut, 44; Sudhanwa Sudhir Gondhlekar, 39; Shrikant Jagnath Pangarkar, 40; Avinash Anant Pawar, 30; Leeladhar Ukhirde, 32; AVasudeo Bhagwan Suryawanshi, 19; Suchit Kumar Rangswamy, Bharat Jayawant Kurne, 37; Amol Arvind Kale, 34; Amit Ramchandra Baddi, 27; and Ganesh Dasharath Miskin, 28.

They have been charged under various sections of Explosive Substances Act 1908, Explosives Act 1884; Indian Penal Code, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, Arms Act 1959 and the Maharashtra Police Act 1951.

—IANS

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