The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad has questioned at least 16 people for their possible links to the three men arrested for allegedly planning to carry out blasts in the state, a police official said Saturday.
The ATS Friday arrested Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar from Nallasopara near Mumbai and Sudhanva Gondhalekar from Pune. Following raids at Raut’s residence and shop, the ATS claimed to have seized a huge quantity of explosives, including 20 crude bombs and bomb circuit drawings.
ATS chief Atulchandra Kulkarni said they will probe if the arrested men had any connection with the killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare and journalist Gauri Lankesh.
The ATS also questioned at least 16 others from Nallasopara, Pune, Satara, Solapur and elsewhere in the state for suspected links to the three men, the police official said. He, however, did not reveal if more arrests were likely to happen.
Police are also probing if the arrested men were part of social media groups of like-minded people by examining their mobile phones, he said. Their mobile phones will be sent to a forensic science laboratory for analysis, he added.
Raut’s purported social media account mentioned he was associated with the right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha, but the group yesterday denied he was its member. A court in Mumbai yesterday remanded the three men in ATS custody till August 18.