Police custody of accused in Nallasopara arms case extended

Mumbai, Jan 30 (PTI) A court here on Thursday extended till February 3 the police custody of a West Bengal resident arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in the 2018 Nallasopara arms haul.

Pratap Hajra was arrested from Nainapur in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal on January 23.

He was produced before the special judge for Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act court, D E Kothalikar, at the end of his ATS remand on Thursday.

The ATS sought his further custody, which the court granted.

The ATS told the court that it needed to analyse the data recovered from Hajra's mobile phone and also his bank account details to probe his source of funding.

It was suspected that he was paid for imparting training in making of crude bombs to other accused, the ATS said.

Hajra's lawyer claimed that his client was beaten up in custody, and argued that the reasons given by the ATS for further remand were not convincing.

However, the court rejected his arguments and extended Hajra's ATS custody.

Hajra was absconding after the ATS seized crude bombs, country-made pistols and weapons such as choppers from alleged members of a Hindu rightwing group from Nallasopara near Mumbai and some other cities in Maharashtra in 2018.

He was also allegedly involved in a conspiracy to carry out a terror attack during the Sunburn music festival in Pune in December 2017. The attack did not materialise.

According to the ATS, the conspirators were opposed to the festival because they thought it promoted `western music and culture'.

Those arrested after the Nallasopara arms haul included Sharad Kalaskar, who was also, allegedly, one of the two assailants who shot dead rationalist and anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune in 2013. PTI AVI KRK KRK