Explosive seizure case: ATS custody of 3 accused extended till Aug 28

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MUMBAI: A court here today extended till August 28 the police custody of three suspected members of a right-wing group, who were arrested for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to carry out blasts in Maharashtra.
Vaibhav Raut (40), who used to run a pro-cow protection outfit, was arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra police on August 10 from Nallasopara near Mumbai.
It was followed by arrests of Sharad Kalaskar (25) from Palghar district and Sudhanva Gondhalekar (39) from Pune.
The arrested accused were produced before judge Vinod Padalkar after their police remand ended today.
The ATS told the court that it has seized arms and explosives from the house of one Prasad Deshpande at Natepute village in Malshiras tehsil of Solapur district, along with some letters.
These letters, as well as other documents and messages exchanged through mobile phones by the accused contained some code words which the ATS wanted to probe, the prosecution said.
The defence lawyer argued that there was no need for further ATS custody of the accused as examination of seized evidence was the job of forensic experts.
However, the prosecution maintained that the probe will come to a halt without further custodial interrogation.
While the ATS wanted a 15-day extension to the custody period, the court extended the accused’s police remand till August 28.
After the arrests, the ATS had claimed that it had seized a huge cache of explosive materials and country-made firearms during raids at various places in the state.
Alleging that the trio were planning to carry out blasts in the state ahead of Independence Day and Bakri-Eid festival, the ATS had said it would also probe if the accused had any connection with the killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, and journalist Gauri Lankesh.
The trio have been booked under terror-related provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.