Mumbai Right-Wing Terror: Accused Vaibhav Raut had a secret room to stash arms

Updated: Sep 04, 2018, 08:21 IST | Samiullah Khan | Mumbai

Countering family's claim that seized weapons were planted, cops say Vaibhav Raut had a hidden room at Nalasopara home, which is why initial searches yielded nothing

Illustration/ Ravi Jadhav
Illustration/ Ravi Jadhav

The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which is currently investigating the Nalasopara arms haul, stumbled upon a secret room inside the house of arrested accused Vaibhav Raut, soon after his arrest. According to a police officer, when ATS raided Raut's home in Nalasopara again on August 11 — a day after he was held — they found and seized one laptop, two CPUs, four airguns, 20 boxes of airgun bullets, two notebooks, one diary, one mobile phone, three SIM cards and two other papers.

The cops also seized an Innova that was parked in Raut's premises. The alleged right-wing activist had been arrested on August 10. On that day, ATS recovered eight live bombs from Raut's home.

ATS officers had seized 20 bombs from Vaibhav Raut's home and shop on August 10
ATS officers had seized 20 bombs from Vaibhav Raut's home and shop on August 10

They also found 12 other bombs, two gelatin sticks, 26 detonators, 150 grams of a white powder wrapped in newspaper, two one-litre bottles labelled 'poison', a cutter, 20 boxes of air gun bullets, from Raut's shop, which is near his home.

Cops said they were completely unaware of this secret room on the day Raut was held. They got to know about it only on August 11, the next day, when they were interrogating Raut. They said Raut confessed to them that his house is a two bedroom-hall-kitchen (BHK) and not a one BHK.

Vaibhav Raut
Vaibhav Raut

Secret room
According to ATS officials, when they raided Raut's residence, they found that he stays on the first floor of a three-storied building along with his family. The second and third floors are occupied by his cousins. At first glance, Raut's house seems like a 1BHK and one cannot sense that there is an additional bedroom. There was no latch or handle put on the door leading to the otherwise invisible 'secret' room. All it had was a small keyhole. The walls of the living room and bedroom were decorated in such a way that nobody could find anything about the other room.

After learning about the room from Raut, ATS officials immediately raided it the same day. They found and seized: one laptop, two CPUs, four air guns, 20 boxes of air gun bullets, two notebooks, one diary, one mobile phone, three SIM cards and two other papers, said a police official.

Hidden stories
ATS sources suspect that many more hidden stories are linked to the secret room. It is being alleged that prior to his arrest, Raut would have two gatherings here each week with the right-wing organisation he was associated with. The sources said, "The room was made with a purpose. It is suspected that it was used to make the explosives and arms that were recovered from his house."

mid-day had reported on August 19 in, 'ATS became beggars, hawkers, cobblers to get Vaibhav Raut,' how six months prior to his arrest, the ATS had been keeping an eye on Raut ever since his name blipped on their radar while investigating the murders of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and politician Govind Pansare.

While they were observing him for all those months, ATS officers saw a drastic change in Raut's behaviour after he became deeply associated with the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. He used to hold meetings for the Samiti twice a week at his residence. ATS officers had made special checklists of each of the members who attended these meetings.

Also Read: Right Wing Terror Case: Vaibhav Raut and Co were to target Mumbai, Pune

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