OVER LAST 11 months, it has come to light that in four cases, unidentified persons sent packets containing explosive substances and detonators by post. Twice, the packets were received by a radical outfit, once by FTII and another time by a university’s journalism department. However, the Pune city police seem to be clueless and have not been able to solve the cases yet.
On July 10 last year, a packet containing some explosive substance, detonator and paper cuttings of Sanatan Prabhat (mouth piece of Sanatan 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, which came to limelight after its activists had vandalised the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) over the controversial book written by American writer James Laine on Maratha King Shivaji in January 2004. Bhosale opened the packet on July 11 and lodged a complaint at Vishrambaug police station on July 12.
Then, on July 17, a similar packet with explosive substance, a detonator and paper cuttings of Sanatan Prabhat, addressed to Santosh Shinde, an office-bearer of Sambhaji Brigade, was received at the office of a businessman, Satish Chavan, in Pune Camp area. Chavan was the convenor of the state-level convention of Sambhaji Birgade held in Sangli on March 8, 2015. A complaint was lodged at the Cantonment police station in this case.
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In both cases, the paper cuttings had some names, including that of a well-known journalist, a politician and a Sambhaji Brigade officer-bearer, all crossed with red ink. A probe was handed over to the Pune Anti Terrorist Cell (PATC) of the crime branch. Probe revealed that the packets were last dispatched from the General Post Office (GPO) and the S P College post office.
An officer said, “The parcels came to Pune by railway mail from a spot withing 200 kilometre from Pune. We got stamps of every post office located within 200 kilometre from the city to match it with the stamp seen on the parcels. We also sought a forensic report from the lab in Kalina in Mumbai. We conducted inquiries at railway mail service (RMS). But the spot from where the parcels were posted and the person who posted it remained not known.”
Meanwhile, on May 7, this year the office of the director of Film Television Institute of India (FTII) received a live detonator, along with an explosive substance, and a threat letter warning against any association with Kanhaiya Kumar, student leader at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
After two days, a similar parcel that came through postal service containing a live detonator and an explosive through was found at the Department of Communication and Journalism of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) located on the premises of Ranade Institute on FC Road.
Police said this parcel was posted the same day it was sent to the FTII. This packet too contained threat letter warning students and the institute administration against backing student leader Kanhaiya Kumar. Both cases were registered at the Deccan Gymkhana police station.
Some journalism students, activists of Sambhaji Brigade and other outfits had staged protests to condemn these threat letters. Probe had revealed these letters were posted at a city post box, but there was no progress in the investigation thereafter. Police, however, suspect that the mastermind behind all the four parcels could be same.
Senior inspector Sushma Chavan, in-charge of Deccan Gymkhana police station, said, “Our probe in the case is on and we are working on certain clues. As of now, we do not have leads that are concrete.”
Meanwhile, Sambhaji Brigade wants the police to interrogate Dr Tawde, the Sanatan Sanstha seeker arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on June 10, in connection with the murder of rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar. Police have found suspicious email exchange between Tawde and absconding Sanatan Sanstha member Sarang Akolkar, in which they have allegedly discussed Dabholkar and the procurement of weapons.
Ajay Bhosale of Sambhaji Brigade said, “We have been in constant touch with the police about these cases. We also had a meeting with police commissioner Rashmi Shulka demanding an inquiry on Sanatan Sanstha. It should be probed whether Sanatan Sanstha’s Tawde knows anything about these parcels which carried Sanatan Prabhat articles.”
Sanatan Sanstha had issued a statement denying any involvement. It stated that sending cuttings of its newspaper along with explosives through parcel is an act to malign the image of the Sanstha.