The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Thursday arrested a Hindu outfit member after recovering huge quantity of explosives from his residence at Nallasopara in Palghar district of the state, police said on Friday.
The activist has been identified as Vaibhav Raut. According to sources, he is linked to Sanatan Sanstha.
He was apprehended from Bhandar Aali in Nallasopara West late last night, an official said.
“ATS sleuths raided his residence and shop where they found huge quantity of explosives, including crude bombs. Some literature was also seized,” he said.
After taking Raut into custody, the ATS team returned to Mumbai, where he would be interrogated.
He is likely to be produced before a court this afternoon, the official added.
Talking to the press, Sanatan Sanstha lawyer Sanjeev Punelikar has denied media reports of Raut being a part of Sanatan Sanstha.
“Raut had been externed by the Palghar police in connection with a beef ban case. While he is a hindutva worker, he isn’t our member. However I doubt the ATS claim of him hoarding explosives,” he said.
Raut is also said to be linked to the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti.
Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) described Vaibhav Raut as a daring cow protector.
“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,” HJS state organiser Sunil Ghanvat was quoted as saying by PTI.
He, however, claimed that Raut had not participated in any of the programmes for the last few months.
“The incidents of needless harassment of activists of Hindu organisations to implicate them in false cases, etc are not new anymore. This has been amply proved through Malegaon case and the arrest of many innocent seekers of Sanatan Sanstha,” Ghanvat said.
“Considering the news being disseminated today, it has created doubt whether the arrest of Vaibhav Raut is an instance of Malegaon part II,” he said.
(With agency inputs)