‘Book accused in Nallasopara arms haul case under UAPA’: Public prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves
Urging that the 12 men booked in connection with the Nallasopara arms haul case be charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the prosecution on Friday said the accused had been active since 2009, and had come together for the sole purpose of “terrorising people who spoke against Hindu traditions”.
Twelve people — Sharad Kalskar, 25; Vaibhav Raut, 44; Sudhanwa Gondhlekar, 39; Shrikant Pangarkar, 40; Avinash Pawar, 30; Leeladhar Ukhirde, 32; Vasudeo Suryawanshi, 19; Suchit Kumar Rangswamy, 37; Bharat Kurne, 37; Amol Kale, 34; Amit Baddi, 27; and Ganesh Dasharath Miskin, 28 — have been charge-sheeted by the Anti-Terrorism Squad for plotting a terror attack and possessing arms in huge quantity. The prosecution on Friday opened the case and the court scheduled the case for July 26 for framing charges, after which the trial will begin.
Arguing the accused must be charged under the stringent UAPA, public prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves said the accused have been active since 2009. “They were active not only in Maharashtra but in other states too...It is a terrorist group which was radicalised, and targeted people and events that were against Hindu tradition,” he said.
Gonsalves also said the group to which the accused belonged was also involved in the murders of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, Gauri Lankesh and MM Kalburgi. He argued that members of the group had conducted recce of people who expressed views against Hindu traditions and their job was to not only terrorise people, but also to recruit more men and train them. The prosecution said they had found evidence in the form of bullet marks on trees where gun shots had been fired at the places where the accused admitted to have held training camps.In its charge sheet, the ATS said the accused were members of Hindutva organisations such as Sanatan Sanstha, Hindu Janjagruti and others. However, the groups have claimed the arrested accused are not their members.
“They had drawn their motivation to make efforts towards establishment of a so-called Hindu Rashtra as explained in a book published by Sanatan Sanstha. They had conspired to form a terrorist gang of youths with similar mindset, which would work towards undermining the unity, integrity, security and sovereignty of the country,” the prosecution said.
The arms haul case dates back to August 10, 2018, when the ATS arrested Nallasopara resident Raut after receiving a tip-off that three men were allegedly planning terror attacks in Mumbai, Pune, Satara, Solapur.
Twenty crude bombs, raw material to make more bombs and detonators were seized from Raut’s home and office and it led to the arrest of the others.