Goa weighing ban on Sanatan, outfit denies hand in blast

Last Updated: Monday, October 19, 2009 - 23:48

Panaji: The Goa government on Monday said it is contemplating a ban on Sanatan Sanstha for its alleged involvement in the Diwali-eve blast in Panaji even as the Hindu right-wing organisation denied of any role in the explosion that left one dead and another critically wounded.

"We are examining whether the outfit can be banned.

There is no formal decision on the issue," Advocate General
Subodh Kantak said.

The law department is examining whether the Sanstha
can be banned centrally, or a state-specific ban can be
imposed, he said.

Meanwhile, police said Yogesh Naik, who was earlier
reported to be dead, was in fact fighting for his life in a
hospital.

Earlier, Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik said the ban can
be imposed if the investigation confirms the outfit`s
involvement in the blast. "We will take the decision only
after the investigation is over," he said.

As the Sanstha`s role in the blast came under the
police scanner, its spokesman Abhay Vartak said an attempt was
being made to falsely implicate the organisation.

"Home Minister Ravi Naik is trying to frame our
organisation because it had taken a firm stand on the state
government`s failure in preventing desecration of temples and
idols in the state," Vartak told reporters at Panvel near
Mumbai.

Naik told a news agency that police were probing the foreign links
of the Sanstha because its Goa office was frequented by
foreigners who were also found during the raid after the
blast.

About reports that Jyoti Dhavalikar, wife of state
Transport Minister Ramkrishna Dhavalikar, was an office bearer
of the Sanstha, Naik said the police would examine her.

Reacting to Naik`s statement, Vartak said "no foreigners
were living in the Goa ashram. Some American tourists had
visited the ashram last week.

"Sanatan Sanstha is being projected as a militant group
and comparisons are being drawn with LeT and Naxalites,"
Vartak said, denying its association with Pragya Singh Thakur,
one of the main accused in the Malegaon blast on September 29
last year which killed six people.

"Naik`s statement that Sanstha has nexus with Thakur is
completely false," said Vartak.

While admitting Malgonda Patil, who was killed in the
blast at Margao on October 16 night, was a Sanstha member and
owned the scooter in which the explosive was planted, Vartak
said police were yet to reach a conclusion about whether the
deceased had himself kept the explosive there.

He said Nishad Bakhle, who jointly owned the scooter
with Patil, was not associated with Sanatan, while critically
wounded Yogesh Naik`s link was limited to his delivering milk
to the Goa ashram.

DIG Ravindra Yadav said the SIT, constituted to probe
the blast, has questioned a number of top Sanstha
functionaries including its chief Jayant Athavale.

Bureau Report



First Published: Monday, October 19, 2009 - 23:48

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