ATS raids Sanatan Sanstha worker’s home in Nala Sopara, recovers explosives

ATS raids Sanatan Sanstha worker's home in Nala Sopara, recovers explosives
ATS team raided the house of Vaibhav Raut in Nala Sopara following specific intelligence inputs (Picture: ANI)

A team of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) recovered several country-made bombs and other suspicious material from the house of a man, believed to be affiliated with Sanatan Sanstha, in Palghar’s Nala Sopara area during the wee hours of Friday.

The ATS team raided the house of Vaibhav Raut in the Nala Sopara locality following specific intelligence inputs. During the raid, the sleuths recovered at least eight crude bombs and some other suspicious material.

Raut was taken into custody after the recovery.

The team also raided a shop in the same locality and recovered raw material for making explosives. The raw material found at the shop reportedly includes large quantity gun powder and detonators, enough to make two dozen bombs.

The explosives were recovered from Bhandar Gaali in Nala Sopara west.

The material was seized by ATS and senior officials from Palghar police. An official in the know said the material has been sent to Mumbai Forensic Science Laboratory lab to analyze if it was RDX.

A probe to ascertain how Raut got his hands on the material, and how he intended to use it, is currently underway.

The ATS team had been keeping an eye on him since the last few days. They raided his house along with a forensics team and a dog squad late last night.

Raut is likely to be placed under arrest and presented before the Bhoiwada Court later this afternoon.

Sanatan Sanstha advocate Sanjeev Punalekar, meanwhile claimed that Raut was a ‘Hindutva member’ and not an active member of the sanstha.

He added that the outfit will provide legal aid to Raut, while expressing concern over why they were not informed about the arrest.

“Anti-Terrorism Squad has not intimidated us about arrest of Vaibhav Raut. Wonder what kind of law is being followed in this country and in Maharashtra. We’ll take all legal steps,” Punalekar told ANI.

Sanatan Sanstha, a right-wing Hindu group, was founded in 1999 by Jayant Balaji Athavale.

People owing allegiance to the outfit have been arrested in connection with three bombing cases in 2007 (Vashi, Thane & Panvel), a bombing in 2009 (Goa) and the murders of Narendra Dabholkar (2013), Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi (2015) and senior journalist Gauri Lankesh.

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