Gauri Lankesh murder: Sanatan Sanstha denies involvement

Sanatan Sanstha national spokesperson Chetan Rajhans demanded an ‘unbiased probe’ in the murder of Gauri Lankesh.   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Sanatan Sanstha, the Goa-based Hindu right-wing organisation, denied any involvement in the murder of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh. They demanded an “unbiased probe” into the murder and said their volunteers (sadhaks) would “co-operate with any probe as required by law.”

Asked if the Special Investigation Team (SIT) had, till date, questioned any volunteer in connection with the murder, Sanstha national spokesperson Chetan Rajhans, speaking at Bengaluru on Thursday, said: “Local police in Goa and Maharashtra are inquiring about the murder with our volunteers; but not the SIT.”

The Sanstha had published only one article on her in Sanatan Prabhat, its mouthpiece, when she accused the organisation of involvement in Madgoan blast in Goa, he said.

Mr. Rajhans, while acknowledging Dr. Veerendra Tawde and Sameer Gaekwad chargesheeted in the murders of the two rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare as “sadhaks” of the Sanstha, claimed the two were “framed.”

“We are not part of BJP. Whoever, is in power what we need is a fair probe. The way the state government in Maharashtra is behaving is also not very different from other governments,” Mr. Rajhans said.

Sanjiv G. Punalekar, secretary, Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, defending the two in court, alleged both probes were biased and accused the families of Dabholkar and Pansare of “misleading the probe.” Virendra S. Ichalkaranjikar, another defence counsel, claimed the cases that the Central Bureau of Investigation and Maharashtra SIT have made in these cases are “so weak that they are postponing even beginning the trial when we are ready for a day-on-day trial”, cautioning Karnataka SIT to “not follow their footsteps.”

Asked why the Sanstha was sheltering the wife of Vinay Pawar, an absconding Sadhak on whom CBI has announced a prize of ₹5 lakh, Mr. Punalekar said that there was no denying that Vinay Pawar was absconding. “We prefer facing the law. But he is absconding fearing a targeted investigation that is not fair. It is sad that our agencies have not given him the confidence,” he said. To another question, the advocates said that his wife had told the police that he had left for the Himalayas and hence had not filed a missing complaint.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 5:35:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/gauri-lankesh-murder-sanatan-sanstha-denies-involvement/article19728809.ece

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