Sanatan Sanstha's spokesperson Abhay Vartak responds to allegations in the mid-day newsroom
Q. You do not allow journalists to access your Panvel ashram. If you have nothing to hide, why take such measures?
A. For four days, post Sameer Gaikwad's arrest, we allowed reporters inside the ashram. But, we were wrongly represented on a TV channel. Later, there was a wrong version printed in a newspaper wherein a journalist stated that we give arms and ammunition training. We do not have any arms and ammunition in the ashram and we do not give training. This is an international conspiracy to defame us.
Abhay Vartak, 40, is a BSc graduate from Pune University, who became a sadhak in 1996. He is now the spokesperson of the Sanstha. PIC/Atul Kamble
Q. Sanatan Sanstha members were picked up for the 2009 Goa blast case...
A. They have been released because they were innocent. Yet these persons have spent four years in jail and as a result, their life has been spoilt. They were trapped, "fasaya gaya".
Q. Two Sanatan members Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik, were allegedly carrying a bomb in their scooter for planting at a spot in Goa The duo died as the bomb went off prematurely...
A. This bomb may have been planted. For instance, if I am travelling in a car and, unknown to me, a bomb is planted in the boot. Look what is happening to Sameer Gaikwad. He is innocent. Like I told you, it is an international conspiracy.
Q. In what way is it 'international'?
A. They are the ones who get foreign funding. Dr Dabholkar had not given details (hisaab) of his funding for 12 years to the Charity Commissioner. He also supported Naxalism. There could have been a rift between the two groups... has that been investigated?
Q. There can be no smoke without fire.
A. All those spreading lies about us are the same 'thinking' persons. Dabholkar and some like him are atheists. They say don't do puja, rituals, and say 'gandi baat' (bad things) about devis and devtaas.
Q. Do you have arms and ammunition?
A. No, we give self-defence training - how to tackle chain snatchers, stop pick pockets, some knife 'tricks', firefighting, disaster management, first aid etc.