Right-wing terror: Of code names, operational SIMs and other 'primitive' methods

Sep 13, 2018, 21:20 IST | Rahul Mahajani

ATS decodes terror module's communication strategy, said to be used by spies and extremist outfits, in practice for the last 10 years

Right-wing terror: Of code names, operational SIMs and other 'primitive' methods
Vasudeo Suryavanshi

Members of the right-wing terror module that the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) busted used primitive methods, like those used by spies or extremist organisations, for plotting their conspiracies, the agency's probe has revealed. Passing chits, employing three layers of communication using random people, and changing code words after every operation to evade suspicion, were some of their tactics, said officers, adding that most of the diaries seized from the arrested accused are written in code as well.

Also, for communication via mobile phones, the accused changed SIM cards, registered under fake names daily to ensure security agencies wouldn't be able to track them. ATS has decoded the entire communication methodology of the module, which, it suspects, has been in operation for the last 10 years.

Vaibhav Raut, S Kalaskar and S Gondhalkar
Vaibhav Raut, S Kalaskar and S Gondhalkar

Modus operandi
Investigation has revealed the suspects worked alone, and occasionally in groups, in case of an important assignment. "No chit-chat was allowed between members, with communication restricted to assignments," said a senior officer.

Wrong numbers?
Investigators also found that members would address each other using only code names — Sharad Kalaslar was Sarwan or Vishnu or Dada, Vaibhav Raut was Waman, Sudhanva Gondhalkar was Pandeji, Avinash Pawar was Ajit Dada, and Vasudeo Suryavanshi was Mechanic.

Avinash Pawar, S Pangarkar and Bhaiyya Lodhi
Avinash Pawar, S Pangarkar and Bhaiyya Lodhi

Interrogation of the arrested suspects has revealed that many times the person in-charge of an operation would send someone to deliver a message to a particular individual verbally. And, even if a phone was used, it would have an "operational SIM". For instance, arrested ex-corporator from Jalna, Shrikant Pangarkar, one of the alleged financiers, received SMSes on his registered mobile number, but to respond to those, he would insert an operational SIM and make the call, ATS has found out.

Similarly, investigators have found that Pawar used a SIM card registered in someone else's name, and the card's cell tower location shows he was in Belgaum and Kalyan, when crude bombs were hurled at theatres screening Padmaavat last December and in January. The probe has revealed that the card was given to him by Raut, who got it from Gondhalkar.

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