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Goa blast similar to earlier ones in Maha
Published on 19 Oct. 2009 10:58 PM IST
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The Goa Police Monday said there were similarities in the Diwali eve explosion in Margao and blasts carried out by members of the right wing Hindu group Sanatan Sanstha in Thane, Vashi and Panvel in Maharashtra last year. Meanwhile, the Goa government is contemplating a ban on the Sanatan Sanstha and has begun probing the links of the state transport minister’s wife with the organization. “There are similarities in the explosives used in the blasts in Thane, Vashi and Panvel and the IED blast in Goa,” Deputy Inspector General of Police R.S. Yadav said addressing a press conference at the police head quarters in Panaji Monday. He also said that one of those killed in the Goa blast, Sangli-based Sanatan Sanstha (SS) member Malgonda Patil, was in touch with Vikram Vinay Bhave, who was arrested in connection with the blasts in Maharashtra. The officer said that the gelatine sticks used for the IEDs in Goa were sourced from Nagpur-based explosives manufacturer Suraj Explosive Works, an angle which will be probed by the Goa police. Yadav admitted to the probability of the involvement of several other SS members in the blast in Margao. “We have questioned several high ranking members of the ashram including the managing trustee Virendra Marathe, editor of their newspaper Prithviraj Hazare,” Yadav said, adding that the police also met the group’s founder Jayant Athavale, who he said “was recuperating from a long illness”. Meanwhile, in an interesting disclosure, DIG Yadav rebutted earlier statements by the Home Minister Ravi Naik that Malgonda’s accomplice Yogesh Naik was dead. “He is in a very critical condition, but he is not dead yet,” Yadav said. Earlier, Advocate General Subodh Kantak told reporters that the state was looking at banning the Sanatan Sanstha. “The decision could be taken tomorrow (Tuesday),” Kantak said. Home Minister Ravi Naik said the police would probe the links of the wife of state transport minister Ramkrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar with the SS. “We are probing everyone. We know that Jyoti Dhavalikar is part of the institution, although we do not know in what capacity. I have asked police to enquire,” Naik said. Sudin Dhavalikar is a Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) legislator and part of the Congress-led coalition government. Sudin’s brother Deepak Dhavalikar is also an MGP legislator. “We will ban the SS if anything is found suspect. Such organizations which commit anti-social acts should be punished,” he said. In a formal statement, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) spokesperson Ramakant Khalap said, that the police should get to the bottom of the case and not spare anyone, “howsoever powerful”. “We have also asked the police to probe if the chief minister was the intended target of the Margao blast by Sanatan Sanstha members,” Khalap, a former union minister of state for law, told reporters. Margao, a major town in South Goa, is also the home constituency of Chief Minister Digambar Kamat. A Sanatan Sanstha activist was killed when the explosives he and another member were ferrying on a two-wheeler exploded Friday evening on a street in Margao, 35 km from here. Three other IEDs, two of which were found unexploded near the blast site and the other about 30 km away near Vasco, did not go off. No hand in Goa blast: Sanatan Sanstha The Sanatan Sanstha, a Hindu right-wing group, Monday categorically denied any involvement in last Friday’s Goa blast in which two people were killed and claimed it was being treated on par with terror outfits like the Laskhar-e-Taiba by the government and investigators. “We are not a terror organization. There is some kind of a conspiracy to implicate us in the Goa terror case,” said a Sanatan Sanstha office-bearer and spokesman, Abhay Vartak at a media gathering in Panvel (Raigad district), around 100 km from Mumbai. Emphasising that the Sanatan Sanstha was a socio-cultural organization, he said that it was being targeted for protesting the desecration of an idol in Goa. “We were not involved in any manner with the Goa blast and none of our members have been arrested so far in connection with the incident,” Vartak said. However, Vartak admitted that the scooter on which the blast took place belonged to the group. “The scooter was ours but the bomb must have been planted there by somebody else,” he claimed. He said the organization is huge with members spread everywhere, and hence “we cannot be responsible for the acts of any individual members”. Vartak expressed regret that the manner in which the group was being targeted in sections of the media and by the investigators conveyed the impression that it was a terror group like the Lashkar-e-Taiba. He said that in police raids on the Sanstha’s ashram in Sangli, the police did not find any incriminating documents as claimed in the media. The investigating agencies which include the Goa Police and Mumbai’s elite Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) have turned the heat on the Sanatan Sanstha since the past four days following the blast in Goa. One of the two deceased, Malgunda Patil, was a member of the Sanatan Sanstha and had been employed in the Sanatan Prabhat, the organization’s mouthpiece, in Sangli. Two years ago, Patil had moved to and settled in Goa where the Sanstha’s headquarter is located. Meanwhile, Goa police are probing a dozen foreigners, including three French nationals, who have been found illegally residing in the Sanatan Sanstha ashram premises, a senior police official said Monday. Speaking to IANS Deputy Inspector General of police R.S. Yadav said several foreigners were being probed because their documentation was incomplete. “They had had not filled the ‘C’ form, which is mandatory for a foreigner if he or she is staying for a long duration,” Yadav said. Home Minister Ravi Naik told reporters: “We have found that many foreigners used to visit here. We need to know what they were doing here.” Naik, speaking to reporters, said that none of the foreigners was listed with the local police station, which was mandatory since they had put up at the ashram for more than a week.

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