The Maharashta Anti-Terrorism Squad on Saturday seized a cache of weapons from Pune as part of its investigations against three people arrested on Friday for planning disruptive activities in the State.
Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar and Sudhanwa Gondhalekar were arrested after the ATS got a tip-off about their activities. Mr. Raut and Mr. Kalaskar were picked up from their respective residences in Nallasopara, while Mr. Gondhalekar was picked up from Pune. The ATS also seized 20 crude bombs, two gelatin sticks and a large quantity of equipment used in assembling Improvised Explosive Devices from Mr. Raut.
ATS officers said that based on Mr. Gondhalekar's interrogation, a commercial space in Pune was raided on Saturday and recovered 11 country-made guns, six magazines and several partial parts used in making country-made guns, including barrels, slides and trigger mechanisms.
“We have also seized six vehicle number plates, drill machines and other tools, batteries, CDs, pen drives and instructional literature on assembling IEDs from Pune, along with a steel knife and a chopper. Relevant sections of the Arms Act are now being added to the FIR,” an ATS officer said.
Based on the latest seizure, the ATS now suspects that the accused were planning several strikes at multiple locations in Pune, Solapur, Satara and Mumbai.
“It appears that the accused planned to use the explosives in some locations and guns in others, indicating that this was supposed to be a multi-pronged attack. Based on the sheer quantity of guns and gun parts seized from Pune on Saturday, several more people are believed to be involved in the plot. We are currently working on identifying and apprehending these people,” the officer said.
The ATS has, over the last few days, questioned over 30 suspects who were in regular touch with the arrested trio, and several more are expected to be questioned over the weekend. Inquiries are also being made with friends and family members of the trio to gain additional information about their movements and interactions over the last three to four weeks, sources said.