Amid reports of links between the wife of a Goa minister and the Sanatan Sanstha, the state government is contemplating a ban on the Hindu right-wing group suspected of having had a role in the Margao Diwali-eve blast.
The group, however, denied of any role in the explosion that left one dead and another critically wounded.
Reacting to reports that Jyoti Dhavalikar, wife of state Transport Minister Ramkrishna Dhavalikar, was an office bearer of the Sanstha, Home Minister Ravi Naik said the police would examine her.
On her possible questioning, DIG Ravindra Yadav said, "Police investigation will be on merit and as per the law. It
does not matter if a person is rich or poor, powerful or not. If there is evidence, we will take action."
According to state Advocate General Subodh Kantak, the law department is examining whether the Sanstha can be
banned centrally, or a state-specific ban can be imposed.
"We are examining whether the outfit can be banned. There is no formal decision on the issue," he said.
Naik said the ban can be imposed if the investigation confirms the outfit's involvement in the blast. "We will take
the decision only after the investigation is over," he said.
Meanwhile, Yadav said Yogesh Naik, who was reported to be dead, was in fact fighting for his life in a hospital.
As the Sanstha's role in the blast came under the police scanner, its spokesman Abhay Vartak said an attempt was
being made to falsely implicate the organisation.
"Home Minister Naik is trying to frame our organisation because it had taken a firm stand on the state government's failure in preventing desecration of temples and idols in the state," Vartak told reporters at Panvel near Mumbai.
About Sanstha's alleged foreign links, Naik said police were probing the issue as its Goa office was frequented by foreigners who were also found during the raid after the blast. Reacting to Naik's statement, Vartak said "no foreigners were living in the Goa ashram. Some American tourists had visited the ashram last week.
"Sanatan Sanstha is being projected as a militant group and comparisons are being drawn with LeT and Naxalites," Vartak said, denying its association with Pragya Singh Thakur, one of the main accused in the Malegaon blast on September 29 last year which killed six people.
While admitting Malgonda Patil, who was killed in the blast at Margao on October 16 night, was a Sanstha member and owned the scooter in which the explosive was planted, Vartak said police were yet to reach a conclusion about whether the deceased had himself kept the explosive there.
On the other hand, Yadav said the SIT, constituted to probe the blast, has questioned a number of top Sanstha functionaries including its chief Jayant Athavale.