September 20, 2016

India: SIT grills sadhvis for Sanatan Sanstha drug leads

Pune Mirror

SIT grills sadhvis for Sanstha drug leads
By Mubarak Ansari, Pune Mirror | Sep 15, 2016, 02.30 AM IST

The Panvel ashram of Sanatan Sanstha (in pic); SIT officials questioned two women from this ashram after a huge haul of psychotropic drugs from there.

To submit charge sheet on Sept 29; police believe psychotropic medicines found in outfit's Panvel ashram could have been used to hypnotise people

Two women sadhaks of Rightwing Hindu organisation Sanatan Sanstha were questioned on Wednesday by the special investigation team (SIT), which is probing the murder of veteran communist leader Govind Pansare in Kolhapur. The SIT is expected to submit a supplementary charge sheet in court on September 29.

Sources told Pune Mirror that the women were grilled regarding the recovery of some psychotropic medicines from the organisation's ashram in Panvel, where the arrested Dr Virendra Tawde — named key conspirator in the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar — would visit often.

Speaking to Mirror, superintendent of police (Kolhapur) Pradip Deshpande said, "As part of the ongoing investigation, we are questioning a few people. However, I cannot disclose their details at this stage." The SIT believes that these drugs could have been used to hypnotise people, given their neurological effects. However, Sanatan Sanstha has denied these allegations, saying the medicines were prescribed by their in-house doctors. Sanatan Sanstha spokesperson Abhay Vartak insisted, "The medicines seized by the SIT had been prescribed by a doctor for treatment of some sadhaks".

According to SIT officials, one of the women sadhaks is a doctor from the Santha's main ashram in Goa. She allegedly used to give the drugs to 'chosen sadhaks' on the instructions of Tawde, who is also said to be the brain behind the murder of Pansare. Earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had chargesheeted Tawde, a member of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, as the main conspirator behind Dabholkar's murder in 2013.

Two motorcycle-borne men had shot at Pansare and his wife Uma on the morning of February 16, 2015, while the couple was returning home from a walk. Pansare had succumbed to his injuries after four days while Uma survived.

Police officials said that they have already got an eyewitness who has reportedly identified Vinay Pawar — absconding since the 2009 Goa blast and now named as an accused in the Pansare case — as the person who was loitering around the crime scene before Pansare and his wife were fired upon.

A senior police officer told Mirror, "Tawde had been giving misleading information, which has proved one fact — that he is trying to hide something. We are probing from when he began the conspiracy for the murder, who provided the weapon and who actually fired upon the couple. We have already got many statements of witnesses recorded before the magistrate court".

Till now, the SIT has arrested Tawde and Sameer Gaikwad in the Pansare murder case. Tawde is in SIT custody for the last 11days and he will be produced before the court on Friday after the expiry of his custody. He is expected to be sent back to Yerwada Central Jail, where he was lodged in connection with the Dabholkar case.