BENGALURU: “Five persons linked to the right-wing Sanatan Sanstha organisation, including four with Interpol red-corner notices against their names for their alleged involvement in a bomb blast in Madgaon in Goa in 2009, have emerged as key suspects in the murder of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh outside her home in Bengaluru on September 5,” the Indian Express reported this morning.

In a first exclusive linking Sanatan Sanstha to Lankesh’s murder, the Express report revealed that the five missing persons are: Praveen Limkar, 34, from Kolhapur; Jayaprakash alias Anna, 45, from Mangalore; Sarang Akolkar, 38, from Pune; Rudra Patil, 37, from Sangli and Vinay Pawar, 32, from Satara.

Significantly, as the report points out “Rudra Patil, Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar had earlier emerged in the CBI investigation into the August 20, 2013 murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, 69, at Kolhapur in Maharashtra; in the Maharashtra SIT’s probe into the February 16, 2015 shooting of leftist thinker and rationalist Govind Pansare, 81 in Pune; and in the probe into the August 30, 2015 murder of Kannada scholar and researcher M M Kalburgi, 77, in Dharwad, Karnataka.”

Efforts are on to trace the missing men. Of these “Limkar, Anna, Akolkar and Patil are also suspected to have played a major role in the October 19, 2009 bomb blast in Madgaon where two Sanatan Sanstha men were killed while transporting an IED that was to be planted at a Diwali program in Madgaon. The National Investigation Agency has listed these four men linked to the Sanstha among its most wanted suspects and a red-corner notice has been issued against their names by the Interpol”, the Indian Express stated.

An advocate of the Sanatan Sanstha Sanjay Punalekar, at a recent press conference, claimed that some of its members may be absconding from the law because they were afraid of being wrongly accused in cases.

The organisation, according to the police, has been active in Maharashtra and Karnataka.Rationalism and independent thought is clearly difficult for the organisation to accept as the following posts from its site indicate:

The following was the Sanstha’s official response to whispered allegations at the time of its involvement in the Gauri Lankesh murder. The organisation held a press conference on September 21 and issued the statement that speaks for itself:

Hindu organisations such as Sanatan Sanstha, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti are nationalistic. Yet, the organisations with Naxal-links are accusing them of the unfortunate murder of Gauri Lankesh. Ideological differences between Hindu activists and leftists cannot be denied. However, to conclude that Hindu activists are guilty for the murder, is unfair. Sanatan Sanstha has always fought the battle of ideology with ideology itself and taken the legal way, in a democratic manner. On what basis are a few politicians, pseudo-liberals and journalists falsely blaming Hindu organisations, when not an iota of evidence has come to light against them in this case, or no such clarification has been made by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the State Government? It is claimed that the modus operandi in the murder case is similar. Are others not capable of using the same modus operandi? What is the basis for ruling out the possibility of someone else using a similar strategy? Great uproar is being caused over the murder of Gauri Lankesh, but what about the multiple killings of Hindu activists in the State that continue to remain unsolved? The murder cases of Hindu activists like Dr Chittaranjan and Timmappa Naik have still not been solved; but everybody maintains radio silence on it. In such a situation, misleading the investigation and seeking political mileage by defaming the Hindu organisations out of lies and predetermined agenda, is extremely serious. It is our appeal to these people that instead of making baseless allegations, the Karnataka SIT should be allowed to investigate the case in an unbiased manner without any political interference. ‘We will always cooperate in the investigation’ assured the Hindu organisations and the defence lawyers in Dabholkar-Pansare murder cases in today’s press conference.

The press conference organised at Press Club, Bengaluru, Karnataka was addressed by the Defence lawyer in the Dabholkar-Pansare murder case and National President of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad Adv. Virendra Ichalkaranjikar, National Secretary of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad Adv. Sanjiv Punalekar, High Court lawyer Adv. N.P. Amrutesh of Bengaluru, National Spokesperson of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti Mr. Ramesh Shinde and the Spokesperson of Sanatan Sanstha Mr. Chetan Rajhans.

Today, botched up investigations carried out in the murder cases of Pansare & Dabholkar after succumbing to pressure from their families, are stuck in the limbo. As a result, the courts of law have passed strictures against Maharashtra Police. We are cautioning the Karnataka Police well in advance about facing similar plight in the murder case of Gauri Lankesh. It is imperative to thoroughly investigate all aspects such as Naxalism, family disputes, property disputes, local fights etc. in the murder case of Gauri Lankesh.

The lawyers of persons arrested by Maharashtra Police in Pansare murder case lashed out at the fraudulent approach of Maharashtra Police in manipulating the investigations in murder cases of Pansare & Dabholkar. The entire information in this regard has been given through letters addressed to the Chief Minister of Karnataka Mr Siddaramaiah. Acting in a knee-jerk reaction to the propaganda war launched by the Dabholkar-Pansare families in Maharashtra, the Maharashtra Police indulged in manipulating witnesses, deliberately overlooking vital clues, giving misleading information to the Courts of Law and succumbing to pressures from NGOs in investigation.

Dabholkar-Pansare families are holding the reins of every decision of investigation agencies including appointments of special public prosecutors. As on date, the only activity going on in Maharashtra is to postpone the imminent debacle as much as possible by trying to get the adjournments and stay orders from higher Courts.

In the Dabholkar case, the police had seized the pistol used in the crime and arrested illegal arms dealers i.e. Vikas Khandelwal and Manish Nagori; the Police had also submitted the ballistic report to the Court. All these facts have been published by the media; however, no chargesheet has been filed against them and they have been let go on bail. The Dabholkar family is maintaining absolute silence on this aspect, only because the duo does not have any links with Hindutva organisation.

The Bengaluru FSL (Forensic Lab) opined that one of the pistols used in Pansare Murder was earlier used in the Dabholkar murder on 20th August 2013, i.e. the Pistol seized from Khandelwal and Nagori was taken out of Police custody to murder Pansare and again sent back to Police custody. There has been no investigation in this regard, and the Communists and families of Pansare and Dabholkar are silent on this issue as this cannot be used for implicating Hindu activists.

Chargesheets are filed in both murder cases; yet, the police are not conducting trials and are taking adjournments citing reasons that the bullets are to be sent to Scotland Yard. It is curious to note that the police knew that such a test with Scotland Yard is impossible as the treaty with UK does not permit such a test.

The Bombay High Court has on a number of times rapped the police about the investigation and said that this was nothing but ‘bungling up’ of the investigation. Therefore, Karnataka Police should not fall prey to the myth of Maharashtra Police being a role model. This falsehood has been created by the families of Pansare and Dabholkar who now aim to put the Karnataka Police into the very same trap in which Maharashtra Police find themselves entangled.

The expose of scams of the money-spinning NGOs in Maharashtra, through the Sanatan Sanstha’s mouthpiece ‘Sanatan Prabhat’, has hurt these entities. The influential persons in Kolhapur who had usurped thousands of acres of temple lands and swallowed crores of the worth of temple funds were angry when the issue was raised by Hindu activists, and later on, when CID began probing the temple scam. Interestingly it was Sanatan Prabhat that had exposed the temple scam. The Pansare murder was used by the scamsters as an excuse for creating hatred in the society against the whistle-blowers. The trend was started in 2013 by the Dabholkar family to cunningly implicate their ideological adversaries as murder suspects.

In 2017, the efforts of Sanatan Prabhat, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti etc. culminated in an investigation report under the Maharashtra Public Trust Act which seriously indicts the Dabholkar family for carrying out financial scams. The said report exposes the corrupt side of the Dabholkar Family. The hypocrite rationalist family is now busy stalling the trial of murder suspect on one hand, and concealing of the irregularities and scams in Dabholkar’s NGO on the other.

Under the guise of showing a common modus operandi, Naxal-linked organizations are trying to make inroads into Karnataka which must be stopped. The lawyers and Sanatan Sanstha Spokesperson volunteer to fully cooperate with the investigation agencies in all respects by furnishing all case papers to the police, declared the Spokespersons and lawyers of Sanatan Sanstha.

(Cover Photo: Sanatan Sanstha leaders holding a press conference after th Gauri Lankesh murder in Bengaluru)