Mumbai: Members of Sanatan Sanstha are ‘hard nuts to crack’, who communicate in code languages and have networks in at least four prominent cities of Maharashtra. They also have an 84-page rule book that asks them to 'chant Lord's name' before shooting a target.
The revelations were made by an Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) officer after members of the right-wing outfit were arrested in connection Dabholkar’s murder.
“They don’t speak unless confronted with evidence. They are indoctrinated, tutored, and given elaborate directions. It is not easy to extract information from them,” an officer involved in the probe told CNN-News18 on condition of anonymity.
A senior officer said that all the arrested men have a connection with Sanatan Sansthan the squad’s seven teams were working in and outside Maharashtra to find more details on the outfit and their activities.
“They work in silos and given proper training in use of arms and ammunition. They have travelled throughout the country and it is likely that they have conducted recce at several places across the country in the last few years,” the officer revealed.
He further said that the members use code language to communicate with each other, and don’t know much about what the other group does. “As of now, we have found networks in at least four prominent cities of Maharashtra,” he said.
The CBI had last week recovered a country-made pistol in Aurangabad in Maharashtra, similar to the one used in the killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013. The seizure was made after an arrested Aurangabad resident, Sachin Andure, confessed it to the agency.
His interrogation led to arrests of three other youths, Shubham Swarale, Ajinkya Swarale and Rohit Rege, for trying to hide a cache of arms and ammunition from the police, which was handed to them by Andure.
The ATS said that it will also probe the several bank account details it has compiled from the arrested accused till date, to understand the money trail.
While Maharashtra’s former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan claimed that his government initiated the proposal to ban Sanatan Sanstha in the year 2011, Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar claimed that the BJP-Shiv Sena combine gave it a push by complying to the technical queries sent by the Centre to the State way back in 2015.
ATS sources confirmed that the information sought by the Central government about Sanatan Sanstha activities had gone from its office in the year 2015. The Centre hasn’t yet got back to the State government about it. “The point is, the proposal will have to stand the test of judicial scrutiny. It is a long process,” a top government official said.
The recent developments are a likely indication that the CBI SIT probing Dr Dabholkar murder might feel a sense of vindication. It was in their charge sheet filed in the year 2016 that Dr Virendra Tawde, associated with Sanatan Sanstha, was projected as the kingpin of the murder conspiracy.
Contrary to some recent media reports, the chargesheet had named only Dr Tawde as an accused. The two persons, who were alleged to be the shooters, were not made accused in the charge sheet.
According to CBI, it was Tawde, who, due to animosity with Dr Dabholkar due to his views on Hindu religion, plotted his murder. With the arrest of at least one of the alleged shooters now, it remains to be seen if Tawde was the only mastermind, or there was someone above him, or if Tawde was the mastermind at all.
The CBI also looks forward to getting the custody of Amol Kale, a key accused arrested by the Karnataka SIT in the Gauri Lankesh murder case. With the Karnataka SIT now invoking KCOCA in the matter, the CBI may have to wait for some more time for the custodial interrogation of Amol Kale.
He is an important link in the probe, as a diary seized from him has been throwing light on many clues in the cases which have spread in the jurisdictions of at least three agencies and two states now.
‘Lord Will Provide Weapons at Opportune Moment Through Some Medium’
As per the evidence seized by the CBI SIT during the probe of Dr Dabholkar murder case, the literature of Sanatan Sanstha points to some serious issues.
“In 'Kshatradharma Sadhana' booklet of 84 pages, Sanatan Sanstha writers stated, "Only five per cent of the crusade against evil will be of a physical nature. Five per cent of seekers will need to undergo training with weapon. The Lord will provide the weapons at the opportune moment through some medium. The following are necessary for a physical battle: Physical strength and unity.”
The booklet further stated, "It does not matter if one is not used to shooting. When he shoots along with chanting of The Lord's Name, the bullet certainly strikes the target due to the inherent power in The Lord's Name."
CBI sources claimed that material like this, points towards the intentions of the Sanstha, inciting its Sadhaks to take recourse to violence to silence its critics.