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Maharashtra Govt Focused on Sunburn Festival, Than Our Trial, Says Arms Haul Accused

Kalaskar, Avinash Pawar and Shrikant Pangarkar, all arrested in August, moved a special court here on Friday seeking bail. Judge DE Kothalikar will hear the pleas on January 7. The accused claimed the material on record does not contain any evidence against them.

PTI

Updated:December 28, 2018, 9:07 PM IST
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Maharashtra Govt Focused on Sunburn Festival, Than Our Trial, Says Arms Haul Accused
File photo of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. (Reuters)
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Mumbai: Sharad Kalaskar, a suspected right-wing Hindu activist arrested in an arms haul case, has sought bail contending that the Maharashtra government is more interested in ensuring smooth conduct of the Sunburn festival than conducting his trial.

Kalaskar, Avinash Pawar and Shrikant Pangarkar, all arrested in August, moved a special court here on Friday seeking bail. Judge DE Kothalikar will hear the pleas on January 7.

The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of state police has arrested a total of 12 people under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) following raids at multiple places and seizure of arms and explosive materials.

The bail applications of Pawar and Pangarkar contended that the material on record does not contain any evidence against them, not does it prove any offence under the UAPA.

Kalaskar said in his plea that "social media reports suggest that the state home ministry is too busy with preventive actions for ensuring a smooth conduct of the Sunburn festival next week (at Pune)."

"Such smooth conduct has taken priority over smooth and speedy trial. There is no seriousness for the State...to conduct this case. The liberty of accused cannot be curtailed for satisfying whims and fancies of political rulers who prioritise their resources for their own cultural and political agenda," the plea added.

According to the ATS, the accused had planned, among other things, to target Sunburn, an annual EDM (electronic dance music) festival, because it is "against Hindu culture".

The accused men were allegedly members of right-wing outfits such as the Sanathan Sanstha and wanted a 'Hindu Rashtra', the ATS said in a charge sheet.

They wanted to target the individuals who speak or write against the 'Hindu Dharma', it said.

Kalaskar was later arrested by the CBI in connection with the murder of anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar in 2013.



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