MUMBAI — The Maharashtra Anti-terrorism Squad Dec. 5 made shocking revelations of the alleged role of various Hindu organizations in the Palghar arms haul case of August this year and the subsequent unveiling of a terror plot targeting several cities and rationalists in the state.
Following investigations, the ATS had nabbed two people in from Nalasopara (Palghar) and in Pune who were planning to carry out terror acts in Mumbai and the upcoming Sunburn music festival scheduled in Pune.
The three revealed the involvement of a dozen others, of whom nine who have been arrested and three are still absconding, said an ATS official.
"During investigation, it was revealed that the members of the terrorist gang are also members of organizations such as Sanathan Sanstha, Hindu Janjagruti and other similar smaller organizations," said the ATS, in a detailed chargesheet filed before the Special National Investigation Agency Court in Mumbai Dec. 5.
During the swoop on a bungalow and other premises in Nalasopara, the ATS recovered 20 live country bombs, two gelative sticks, four electric and 22 non-electric detonators, two complete and one incomplete PCB circuits, six battery connectors and six transistors, four relay switches, two gelatine sticks, safety fuse wires, a multimeter, soldering machine and soldering equipment, two one-liter bottles on which the word 'poison' was written and a variety of explosive substances.
The ATS said the three had formed a terror gang, stored the explosive materials, and made and stored the bombs when they were arrested.
From the seized diaries, details of terror training camps, plans for executing terrorist acts and the connected conspiracy in coded languages – which the accused helped decipher – were revealed.
The accused had also stopped using their personal mobile phones during the execution of a conspiracy and instead used separate handsets with SIM cards registered in different names.
Subsequent investigations led to the seizures of 23 live country-made bombs, 15 pistols, one country-made weapon, one partially completed country-made weapon, three pistols without barrels, 10 pistol barrels, six pistol magazines, three partially-made pistol magazines, seven pistol slides, 41 live rounds of ammunition of assorted bores, 26 electric and non-electric detonators, tools and raw-material to make country-bombs and firearms.
In addition, the ATS seized several pen drives, memory cards, hard discs, eight vehicle number plates, copies of the Marathi book 'Kshatra Dharma Sadhana,' several pocket diaries and note books from Nalasopara, Thane, Natepute in Solapur, Satara, and Sakli in Jalgaon.
As well, two motor cars, five motorcycles and parts of a dismantled motorcycle were seized from Pune, Nalasopara, Satara, Kolhapur and Beed, and locations where the terrorist gang arranged their training.
The ATS said the accused were inspired to establish "so-called Hindu Rashtra," as explained in the book 'Kshatra Dharma Sadhana,' published by Sanatan Sanstha. They had conspired to form a terrorist gang of youths with similar mindset, which work towards undermining unity, integrity, security and sovereignty of the country."
To achieve this, the gang planned to use the weapons and explosives to target individuals who speak, write or perform against the Hindu religion, its traditions and customs, as well as target similar programs to terrorize the minds of the common people.
The ATS revealed that the terror gang planned to attack the international Sunburn Festival in Pune this month using the bomb and firearms to "send a strong message to the followers of Western music and Western culture and terrorize those attending it."
The gang had conducted reconnaissance and was completely prepared to launch attack on the music festival, but abandoned it after one of the accused informed his associates that he had possibly been captured on one of the CCTV cameras installed at the program venue.
The terror gangs had also recceed at least three rationalists, speakers and litterateurs who targeted the Hindu religion and its traditions and customs, but their names have not been revealed.
The ATS chargesheet has named the 12 accused: Sharad Bhausaheb Kalskar 25; Vaibhav Subhash Raut, 44; Sudhanwa Sudhir Gondhlekar, 39; Shrikant Jagnath Pangarkar, 40; Avinash Anant Pawar, 30; Leeladhar Ukhirde, 32; Avasudeo Bhagwan Suryawanshi, 19; Suchit Kumar Rangswamy, 37: Bharat Jayawant Kurne, 37; Amol Arvind Kale, 34; Amit Ramchandra Baddi, 27; and Ganesh Dasharath Miskin, 28.
They have been charged under various sections of the Explosive Substances Act 1908, Explosives Act 1884; Indian Penal Code, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, Arms Act 1959 and the Maharashtra Police Act 1951.