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Maharashtra ATS to court: Cache of arms, gun-making materials seized

The ATS also submitted that it has evidence of “sensitive” CCTV footage from an open area in Pune, where the accused allegedly met to conspire.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
August 19, 2018 7:58:04 am
Maharashtra ATS to court: Cache of arms, gun-making materials seized Vaibhav Raut being produced in the court on Saturday. (Express photo by Ganesh Shisrkar)

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Saturday told a special court that it has seized a “huge consignment” of arms and ammunition, including “gun-making materials”, from the three accused arrested last week on terror charges. The ATS also submitted that it has evidence of “sensitive” CCTV footage from an open area in Pune, where the accused allegedly met to conspire.

Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti member Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar (25) and Sudanva Gondhalekar (39), who were arrested on August 10, were produced before the special court by ATS officials seeking their further custody.

While the ATS had earlier claimed to have seized crude bombs, gelatin sticks and other materials from the accused, on Saturday, it submitted that recoveries have been made at the instance of each of the three men.

It claimed to have seized 10 countrymade pistols, one countrymade katta (firearm), one air pistol, 10 pistol barrels, six half-made pistol bodies, half-made countrymade firearms and cartridges, magazines and a chopper from Gondhalekar’s house. Eight countrymade pistols and 41 cartridges were found at Kalaskar’s house, it added.

The police also told the court that handwritten chits in code language have been found on Kalaskar along with other materials on the procedure to make a bomb. Further, the ATS submitted that from Raut’s house in Nallasopara, 22 crude bombs and non-electronic detonators each, two airguns and other equipment have been seized.

The remand application added that during the house search of a resident of Natepute in Solapur at the instance of the accused, more arms and ammunition have been recovered. In his statement to the ATS, the man has claimed that the material was kept at his house without his knowledge, an official said, adding that CCTV footage has shown that the accused had visited the said house.

The police also claimed that in another CCTV footage, Gondhalekar and his accomplices could be seen in Parvati hill area of Pune, which is suspected to be the place where the conspiracy was hatched by the accused.

In its remand plea, the ATS said vehicle number plates have been seized from Kalaskar. Chief Public Prosecutor Jaisingh Desai, along with prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves, sought a further 15-day custody of the accused, claiming that they have to be questioned about the usage of these number plates and weapons. “It has to be determined as to from where the accused had found these arms and ammunition and its purpose. From the seizures made, it is clear that it cannot be the handiwork of only these three. The probe is to find the others involved, who may have given them the training, funding as well as other support,” Desai said.

Advocate Sanjeev Punalekar, representing the three accused, claimed that the invoking of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against them was not proper.

The court said prima facie the Act was applicable. Special Judge V S Padalkar said that further investigation cannot be curtailed by not granting custody of the accused to the investigators. The court remanded the men in police custody till August 28.

The court on Saturday opened the medical report received from JJ Hospital last week after examination of Kalaskar and Gondhalekar, who had alleged that they were assaulted by ATS officers. Maintaining that report has stated no injuries were found on the accused, the court ruled the allegations as baseless.

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