In a stunning development, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad has arrested a member of a Hindutva militant group and seized huge quantity of explosives from his residence at Nallasopara in Palghar district of the state.
The arrested member of Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti has been identified as one Vaibhav Raut. He was arrested from Bhandar Aali in Nallasopara West late Thursday night.
“ATS sleuths raided his residence and shop where they found huge quantity of explosives, including crude bombs. Some literature was also seized,” PTI quoted an official.
Mumbai: Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) conducted a raid at the residence of a person named Vaibhav Raut in Nala Sopara area yesterday and recovered some suspicious material from the house and a nearby shop. Vaibhav Raut detained. More details awaited. #Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/UwaI8WOTgb
— ANI (@ANI) August 9, 2018
The ATS team has returned to Mumbai with Raut and explosives. His interrogation will continue in the state capital, where the alleged Hindutva militant may also be produced in a court.
The ATS has recovered some bomb-making material, including detonators, explosive powder and incriminating material during the raid at his home and shop in Bhandarali area of Nala Sopara, reported IANS.
“We got info on 7 August that some people are conspiring terrorist attack in Mumbai, Pune, Nala Sopara, Satara etc. Total 22 articles have been seized in the raid and three people have been arrested. We seek maximum custody for accused. Out of the 22 articles seized, there were 19 desi bombs,” ANI quoted prosecution lawyer as saying.
Raut’s arrest and discovery of huge amount of explosives assume significance in light of growing incidents of lynching of Muslims by Hindutva terrorists masquerading as cow vigilantes. However, a statement issued by Hindu Janajagruti Samiti has alleged conspiracy against them calling the development as ‘Malegaon part II.’
The Malegaon case centres around the September 29, 2008 bomb explosion near Bhiku Chowk in the Muslim-dominated Malegaon town of Nashik district, which killed six people and injured 101 others.
News agency PTI quoted HJS state organiser Sunil Ghanvat as saying, “Vaibhav Raut is a daring cow protector. He was active through an organisation- Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti – dedicated to the protection of cows… He used to participate in the programmes and agitations organised through uniting Hindu organisations under the aegis of HJS.”
In 2008, six people from the HJS were arrested for planting bombs in auditoriums at Thane and Vashi and in a movie theater at Panvel.