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Maharashtra ATS to quiz Aseemanand in 2008 Malegaon blast

Last Updated: Friday, January 14, 2011 - 22:33

Mumbai: A team of Maharashtra ATS, probing
the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast, has left for Haryana to
question Swami Aseemanand and seek a certified copy of his
"confession" linking himself and right-wing groups to the
terror act, a senior police official said on Friday.

Aseemanand, the main accused in the 2007 Samjhauta
Express blast, is currently in judicial custody in Haryana.
"Following his confession about his role and that of
some groups in the 2008 Malegaon blast, our team left for
Haryana on January 12 to question him. However, Aseemanand is
in judicial custody now. Once the agency concerned there gets
the custody of Aseemanand again, we will ensure that we get an
opportunity to interrogate him," Rakesh Maria, chief of Anti-
Terror Squad (ATS), told reporters here.

A certified confessional statement of Aseemanand, in
which he has talked about the bomb blast, would also be sought
from the probe agency concerned, he said. "After obtaining the
statement, we will seek a legal opinion on it."

Seven people were killed in the September 29 explosion
at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nashik
district of Maharashtra.

Aseemanand is a member of the right-wing group Abhinav
Bharat which was allegedly behind the blast.
His name had surfaced during interrogation of one of
the 11 arrested accused in the case, according to ATS sources.

However, nothing substantial had been established at
that time to link him with the blast and their attempts to
question him had also failed as he could not be traced, they

Eleven persons, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur
and Lt Col P S Purohit, have been arrested in the blast case.
Sadhvi was said to be very close to Aseemanand, but she never
uttered his name during interrogation, the sources said.

A post-graduate in Botany, Aseemanand, whose real name
is Jatin Chatterjee, was not shown as a wanted accused in the
chargesheet filed in the end of 2008.

Meanwhile, CBI is re-investigating the 2006 Malegaon
blast following the "confession" by Aseemanand that right-wing
outfits were involved in the bombing.

The blast had claimed 37 lives.
Aseemanand was arrested by CBI on November 19 for his
alleged involvement in the 2007 blast at Hyderabad`s Mecca
Masjid where nine people were killed.

He had spearheaded the drive to reconvert Hindus who
had embraced Christianity in south Gujarat`s Dangs district in
1998, they said.

Meanwhile, an ATS team led by Maria will attend a
meeting to be organised soon by National Investigation Agency
(NIA) in Delhi.

The meet, to be attended by top officials of various
Anti-Terror Squads, is aimed at ensuring co-ordination among
the agencies probing terror cases.


First Published: Friday, January 14, 2011 - 22:33

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