Another packet containing explosive substance, a detonator and some paper cuttings was received at an office of a businessman who is a supporter of Sambhaji Brigade, a radical outfit known for its anti-Brahmin agenda.
The businessman, Satish Chavan, informed the Pune police after he opened the packet on Friday afternoon. Chavan was the convenor (Swagat Adhyaksha) of the state-level convention of Sambhaji Birgade held in Sangli on March 8, 2015. He is chairman of the “Chavan Group of Companies”, which has its office at Aurora Towers in Pune Camp Area. The letter was addressed to Santosh Shinde, an office-bearer of Sambhaji Brigade.
Earlier, on July 10, a similar packet containing explosive substance, detonator and paper cuttings of Sanatan Prabhat, which is a mouthpiece of Hindu extremist organisation Sanantan Sanstha, was posted in the name of Ajay Bhosale, state convenor of Sambhaji Brigade, at the office of Jijai Publication in Narayan Peth. The publication belongs to Sambhaji Brigade. Bhosale opened the packet on July 11 and lodged a complaint at Vishrambag police station on July 12.
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In the headlines of that paper cutting, some names including that of a well-known journalist, a politician and a Sambhaji Brigade officer-bearer, were crossed with red ink. Preliminary probe by Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) confirmed that the substance inside the parcel was explosive. So an offence was registered under sections of IPC and Explosives Act. Now, a similar offence has been registered at the Cantonment police station.
Chavan told The Indian Express that his office staff received a packet on July 13. “The staff is not supposed to open my letters. I came to the office and opened the packet around 1 pm today. I found paper cuttings, explosive like material and detonator similar to that received by Ajay Bhosale. Some names in the paper cutting, like that of Shrimant Kokate, senior leader of Sambhaji Birgade, was crossed with red ink. So I contacted the police,” he said.
“I am not an office-bearer of Sambhaji Brigade. I am not even a registered member of this organisation. But I support it. And I was the swagat adhyaksh of Sambhaji Brigade’s state convention in Sangli. I think it is an attempt to threaten the office-bearers and supporters of Sambhaji brigade,” he said.
Deputy commissioner of police (zone II) Sudhakar Pathare said, “There is similarity in the packets received by Bhosale and Chavan. Crime branch is investigating the matter. We came to know that the first parcel came by railway mail from a spot within 200 kilometres from Pune. Investigation is on to confirm the places from where these packets came, find out the persons behind it and their purpose.”
Meanwhile, the department of post has also initiated an inquiry in the two cases. Police have contacted the railway officials for help.
Sambhaji Brigade came to limelight after its activists vandalised the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) over the the book written by American writer James Laine on Maratha King Shivaji, Shivaji: Hindu King of Islamic India, in January 2004. The outfit has been in news recently for creating a controversy by opposing the Maharashtra Bhushan prize awarded to noted writer Babasaheb Purandare. They have launched a statewide agitation against Purandare.
When contacted, Ajay Bhosale said that parcels are an attempt to threaten the activists like him as well as supporters like Chavan who play a major role in the growth of Sambhaji Brigade.
“We believe it is an act of Brahmanical forces like Sanatan Sanstha who are hurt because of the agitation against Purandare, which is receiving massive support across state. Police should investigate the case properly,” he said.
Sanatan Sanstha, however, said in a statement that sending cuttings of its newspaper along with explosives through parcel is an act to malign the image of the organisation. “We demand that the police should take this matter seriously and find the culprits as soon as possible.” stated Shashikant Rane, the editor of Sanatan Prabhat.