The Pune city police are now probing the “funding sources” of the radical outfit Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), whose chief, Dhananjay alias Bhai Desai, and 21 others were arrested in connection with the murder of a Muslim techie, Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh, at Hadapsar on June 2.
A police team led by Assistant Commissioner Gopinath Patil produced Desai and 20 other suspects before the magistrate court. Public prosecutor B R Patil sought extension of the custody of all 21 accused by five days for further investigations, but the court remanded the accused in magisterial custody till June 26. The police informed the court that they would conduct a raid at the HRS office in Vile Parle, Mumbai. However, HRS activists accused the move to be politically motivated.
The communal clashes were in the wake of alleged Facebook posts denigrating warrior king Shivaji and Shiv Sena supremo late Bal Thackeray. The police arrested Desai, alleged to be the mastermind in this case, on June 10. He was then remanded in police custody for a day by the court.
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The public prosecutor argued that police did not get sufficient time to question Desai and the other suspects.
Desai’s counsel Sanjiv Punalekar argued that the police had his client’s custody since June 3, when he was arrested for allegedly distributing pamphlets with objectionable content. Punalekar said no custodial interrogation of Desai was required to probe the funding details of HRS, seizure of computers from the outfit’s office and to probe his phone call details. He said even the ATS, NIA and CBI sleuths had questioned HRS men in the case.
Another defence counsel, Sagar Kothari, said, “The police have already seized 18 cell phones and nine motorcycles from the suspects, but failed to produce any evidence proving the involvement of HRS outfit in the murder. HRS is a political outfit, but the investigators have presumed it to be a terrorist group.” The court remanded the suspects in magisterial custody. They would be lodged in the Yerwada Central Jail.