Mumbai: The Sanatan Sanstha on Monday denied any association with suspects arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the assassination of rationalist thinker Narendra Dabholkar and other acts of terror.

The ATS and CBI have made nine arrests so far in connection with an alleged plot to carry out low-intensity bomb blasts in Maharashtra and the Dabholkar’s August 2013 killinlg. Some of those arrested are allegedly associated with the Sanstha or other outfits that have close links with it.

The Sanstha’s national spokesperson, Chetan Rajhans, however, denied any links between the organization and those who were arrested. The Sanstha was being targeted by “progressive-minded people, communists, and political parties like the Congress as part of a larger conspiracy to make sure Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis are removed in 2019 polls," he said.

The Sanstha had come to know about five of those arrested through the media, Rajhans said. “We saw these five names for the first time in the media. The other four are members of other organizations," he said.

Asked why the Maharashtra government had sent a revised proposal to the centre recommending a ban on the Sanstha, Rajhans said similar recommendations were made in 2011 and 2015 but nothing happened. “The recommendation made by the Congress-NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) government in 2011 was politically motivated and prejudiced," he said.

Rajhans was evasive about whether the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Maharashtra had also made a politically motivated recommendation.

Rajhans raised questions over the “credibility" of media reports naming the organization, saying that the Sanstha has not been named in any charge sheet or first information report (FIR) either with regard to the alleged terror plot or the Dabholkar murder.

The Sanstha is engaged in spiritual activities and is associated with as many as 320 Hindutva organizations that are independently doing their work, he claimed.

Rajhans termed the demand to ban the Sanstha a conspiracy to defame the organization and said measures such as these would not be able to stop the “spiritual work of thousands of sadhaks (spirituality seekers)."