NCP leader, rationalists on Hindu right-wing 'hit-list': ATS
Mumbai : In shocking revelations, an NCP leader and other leading rationalists were on the hit-list of the recently arrested Hindu right-wing activists in connection with the Palghar arms seizure case, the Maharashtra ATS told a Mumbai court on Friday.
They are -- Thane Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator Jitendra Awhad, Pune-based rationalist Mukta Dabholkar, daughter of the slain anti-superstition campaigner Narendra Dabholkar, All India Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti President Shyam Manav and activist Ritu Raje.
The disclosure was made by the state Anti Terrorist Squad in the Sessions Court while seeking extension of remand of one of the accused arrested in the Palghar arms haul case, Avinash Pawar.
When the judge sought details of the investigations case diary on Pawar so far, the ATS made the revelations of the alleged hit-list prepared by the right-wing groups targeting these personalities.
Pawar, an employee of a government-owned shipping company, was nabbed in Mumbai on August 24. Prior to this, his associates Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar, Sudhanva Gondhalekar, and Shrikant Pangarkar were arrested in different parts of the state.
The ATS further said Pawar, whose custody was finally extended till September 4, had carried out a recce of some of the targets, and had acquired training in weapons from an unnamed location outside the state.
On August 10, in a major swoop, the ATS had raided a bungalow and other premises in Nala Sopara, Palghar, around 90 km north of Mumbai, and unearthed a mini-factory manufacturing bombs, weapons and other materials meant for carrying out terror strikes in Mumbai, Pune, Solapur and Satara.
The five arrested persons were said to be linked to various Hindu right-wing groups like the Sanatan Sansthan, Shri Shivpratisthan Hindustan and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, which have strongly denied the allegations.
The ATS is also probing the links of these arrested-accused with the killings of Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.