The Goa police arrested a member of Hindu right wing group Sanatan Sanstha in connection with Friday’s blast in Margao that killed two people, DIG Ravindra Yadav said.
Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik had earlier said the Sanstha was responsible for the low-intensity blast. The blast occurred around 9.45 pm near Grace Church in Margao, about 35 km from Panaji.
According to the police, two members of the Sanstha, Malgondi Patil and Yogesh Naik, were riding the scooter that was laden with explosives. Patil and Yogesh Naik succumbed to their injuries.
Naik said the scooter belonged to Nishad Bakhale, another member of the Sanstha.
The Sanstha’s spokesperson Abhay Vartak said, “This is a conspiracy to defame us. They have named our organisation without doing any primary investigation.”
The religious group is on the police radar again — a year after some of its members were accused in a series of low-intensity blasts in and around Thane.
The Goa police have been searching the Sanstha’s Ponda ashram, its headquarters, in the state since Friday night.
Bosco George, SP (north) said, “We have found items like watches and other material that can be used to trigger explosions.”
The police questioned 161 residents of the ashram on Saturday. The Sanatan Sanstha was founded in 1990 by Jayant Athavale, a hypnotherapist. The Sanstha claims its aim is to “present spirituality in a scientific language”. Those who live in its ashram are called saadhaks or seekers. They include retired government employees, engineers and homemakers.
(with inputs from PTI)