Bengaluru, Sept 13: Two saffron extremists who were arrested in connection with the cold-blooded murder of journactivist Gauri Lankesh, have been handed over to the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad. The ATS took them to custody to custody in order to interrogate them in connection with an alleged terror plot in Maharashta.
The ATS has since August 10 arrested eight people for allegedly planning to conduct attacks at various locations in the State, including the Sunburn festival in Pune. A large cache of arms, ammunition and explosives has been recovered from the accused.
According to ATS sources, the agency got custody of Lankesh murder accused Bharat Khurne and Sujeet Kumar from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on September 12.
“Interrogation of the accused arrested earlier indicated that Mr. Khurne and Mr. Kumar also received training in handling arms and explosives along with them. We need to find out if, apart from the Gauri Lankesh murder, they also had an active role in any other crimes linked to the outfit,” an ATS officer was quoted as saying by newspapers.
The ATS, after picking them up, first produced them in a local court in Bengaluru and got transit remand, after which they were taken to Mumbai. They were subsequently produced in a special Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) court, where they were remanded in police custody till September 17.
Mr. Khurne’s farm is alleged to have been used to train Parshuram Waghmore, said to be the gunman in Lankesh’s murder while Mr. Kumar is alleged to have been part of the murder plot. The ATS suspects that Mr. Khurne’s farmhouse was also used while training Vaibhav Raut and his co-accused.
The alleged mastermind of the Lankesh murder plot, Amol Kale, is also said to be closely associated with Shrikant Pangarkar, who was arrested by the Maharashta ATS in August.
The development is just one more link between the alleged plot busted by the Maharashta ATS and murders suspected to have been carried out by extremist Hindutva outfits.
Terror plot in Maha: ATS takes custody of two accused in Gauri murder case