Mumbai: The CBI team investigating the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar conducted a joint raid with Mahrashtra ATS at Aurangabad on Monday and seized several weapons, including a pistol and live cartridges.
The agency suspects that the pistol seized is the same that was used to murder Dabholkar. The raids were conducted at three places in Aurangabad, including the residence of two friends and a cousin of Sachin Andure. The CBI says Andure was the one who fired at Dabhoklar. He was arrested recently and is currently in CBI custody.
Apart from the pistol, three live cartridges, a dagger and a sword were seized during the raid. All items that were seized in the raid will be sent to Forensic Science Laboratory for ballistic investigation to check if the weapon was used in any specific incident.
According to sources, Andure’s name had surfaced during the interrogation of three suspects arrested by the Maharashtra ATS in the Nalasopara explosives case on August 10.
Three accused - Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar and Sudhanva Gondhlekar - have been arrested in the case so far. All three are said to have links with different Hindu outfits, as per the ATS. The accused also attended events organised by Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, the sister organisation of Sanatan.
Maharashtra ATS believes that the three will help them in tracing the men behind the murders of rationalists in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
ATS officials say there are several groups involved in terror activities across the country. However, the challenge is that they operate in silos.
"These people are trained. They work in silos. One group is unaware of the other group. They use code language. It is an organised gang. We are investigating their links," said Atulchandra Kulkarni, Maharashtra ATS chief.
Talking about bringing a ban on Sanatan Sanstha, an ATS official said that they will submit a fresh report regarding the investigations.
Apart from firearms and explosives, in the raids conducted at Nala Sopara, Pune and Solapur, ATS also seized vehicle number plates, motor bikes and parts of pistols along with other articles, including several documents handwritten in code language.
ATS suspects that these articles were used in the murders carried out in Maharashtra and Karnataka, including that of Dr Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M M Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.
ATS officials have also said that they might question the founder of Sanatan Sanstha, Jayant Athavale, if required.
ATS has also found that former Shiv Sena Corporator from Jalna, Shrikant Pangarkar, was in the role of facilitator and provider. Based on this, the ATS is scanning the financial transactions of the past six years of the accused.
Maharashtra ATS has formed seven teams to investigate the information revealed by the accused.