[Video] Political Pressure Saved Terror Accused Sanatan Sanstha From Ban, Says ATS Officers
The Logical Indian Crew India
October 10th, 2018 / 5:10 PM
Image Credits: Sanatan Sanstha/Facebook (Representational)
In a sting operation carried out by India Today, two Sanatan Sanstha members confessed about their roles in bomb blasts across Maharashtra in 2008. The right-wing Hindu group Sanatan Sanstha has been alleged of involvement in the killing of rationalists and for other communal activities. While talking to the India Today‘s reporter, senior anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officers who probed the Sanatan Sanstha have said that the life of journalist Gauri Lankesh, scholars and activists Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar could have been saved if the “terror” organisation Sanatan Sanstha would have been banned nine years ago. The two investigating officers revealed that the Sanatan Sanstha would have been banned years ago, but the powerful political pressure shielded them.
In 2009, two ideologues of the Sanatan Santha were killed when they were trying to plant a bomb at Margao in Goa. Reportedly, the deaths happened because the bomb exploded prematurely. According to the officials, the attack was aimed at Goa’s pre-Diwali Narakasur festival, to spread communal tensions.
“Political Pressure saved Sanathan Sanstha”
The two officers had investigated Sanatha Sntha in the Margao blast case. They told the India Today reporter that their investigation in the case was hampered by “Political Pressure”. One of the officers CL Patil, who was then Station House Officer (SHO) in Ponda said, “There is political pressure. Had there been no political pressure, it (Sanstha) would have been banned long back.”
The officer also disclosed that during that time, he personally had proposed for the ban on the organisation which was eventually rejected. When the reporter asked why did the officer call for a ban on the organisation, the officer said that there have been several other incidents including the Margao blast case where the Hindu Right-wing group has been involved. He said, “There have been 7-9 cases against them in Maharashtra. Organisations that are disturbing communal disharmony should be shut down. This is what I wrote (in the ban proposal),” Patil said.
He also added that he precisely recommended that at least the outfit should be banned in Goa as it is a peaceful state. However, his recommendations that he had sent to then deputy SP were forwarded to then DGP of the state, but later on, it came back without any action.
Salim Shaikh, an ATS inspector in Goa, also told the reporter that the Sanstha has connections with the people in power.
“All their activities are underground here, but they have a lot of active political support,” he said.
BJP political party involved
The officer Patil further stated that no probing team could go inside the Sanstha including the state police. Claiming that there is an utter silence on the entire issue and the ministry and the law enforcement are involved in it, he said, “Everybody falls silent in the name of religion. Everybody fears god.”
However, officer Patil has named a high-profile BJP leader from Goa who has family connections with the Sanatan Sanstha. “His [the politician’s] wife is a manager of the Sanstha. She runs it. His sister-in-law also runs it,” he said.
The India Today TV has not revealed the identity of the politician till now. The report says that they are waiting for a confirmation from the Goa’s government on the leader’s possible role in the Sanatan Sanstha investigation.
After India Today investigation reported about the Sanatan Sanstha’s role in communal activities and involvement in the death of activists. The saffron flagbearer outfit has disclosed the name and photos of the journalist who carried out the investigation on their website, said India Today news anchor and director Rahul Kanwal in a tweet.
After being exposed by @IndiaToday in #SanatanTerrorSanstha tapes Sanatan now releases names & photos of our investigative reporters on their website asking supporters to hunt us down. If these people think such intimidatory tactics can scare us, they have another thing coming!
— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) October 8, 2018
The two suspects in a different case were roommates
Last year in September, the editor of a Karnataka based daily, Lankesh Patrike, Gauri was shot dead for having staunch views against the ‘Hindutva brand of politics’. The assailant, who was waiting for Lankesh outside her house, fired seven shots at her. Four bullets missed Gauri and two bullets hit her in the chest, one on the forehead. Gauri died on the spot. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) has arrested the assailant who confessed of Killing Gauri Lankesh to protect Hindutva.
Amit Degwekar is among the arrested people who allegedly financed her murder. India Today was able to access Amit’s documents including his voter ID and bank receipts, which show the Sanatan Sanstha’s headquarters which is in Ponda, Goa as his residential address.
Patil told the reporter that one of the suspects who is arrested in Gauri Lankesh’s murder(Amit) was the roommate of Malgonda Patil, who had died in the Margao blast while planting the bomb and their room was next to the Sanatan Sanstha founder Jayant Athavale.
“The room was separated by a thin wall and passage inside. Who was brainwashing them? Why was Amit not taken in for investigation? Why was he spared? Why was his role not verified? Had he been arrested there and then, he would not have gone on to murder Gauri Lankesh. These murders would not have happened at least,” Patil said.
The officer said that if his proposal of banning the Sanstha that was sent in 2008-09 would have taken into account, then these “4-5 murders would not have taken place.”
Written by : Ridhima Gupta
Edited by : Bharat Nayak