Malegaon bombings: CBI to quiz Purohit, Sadhvi

Last Updated: Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 14:11

Malegaon/Mumbai: With the terror trail
leading to Hindu right-wing groups in 2006 Malegaon bombings,
the CBI is now planning to question members of such outfits
including those arrested in connection with the blasts in
Maharashtra`s power-loom city two years later.

The move to question the right-wing groups in the 2006
attacks which left 35 people dead comes in the light of
confession made by Swami Aseemanand, a member of the Hindu
right wing group Abhinav Bharat, before a magistrate, official
sources said.

The CBI is likely to question Sadhvi Pragya Singh
Thakur, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Pravin Mutalik who have been
arrested in connection with 2008 Malegaon blasts case, the
sources said.

In a related development, a MCOCA court will hear the
bail application of nine accused arrested earlier by the
Maharashtra ATS in the 2006 case tomorrow and the CBI counsel
is unlikely to oppose their plea.

Aseemanand, who was recently arrested by the CBI, has
stated in his confessional statement that the Malegaon blast
was masterminded by a Hindu group and that a boy arrested in
the case had brought about a change in his heart which led him
to spill the beans.

Assemanand, alias Jatin Chatterjee, had alleged in his
statement that RSS activists had murdered worker Sunil Joshi,
who along with others was responsible for Malegaon 2006
blasts.

Besides Thakur, Purohit and Mutalik, the CBI will
question Rakesh Dhawde, Ajay Rahirkar, Shivnarayan Kalsangra,
Shyam Sahu, retired army official Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer
Kulkarni, Jagdish Mhatre, Dayanand Pandey and Sudhakar
Chaturvedi also in the case, the sources said.

All of them were arrested by Maharashtra ATS for
allegedly carrying out blasts at Malegaon on September 29,
2008 that left six dead and several others injured.

These arrests had given a new direction to the probes
into the terror acts in the country with the role of Hindu
extremist groups being exposed by Joint Commissioner of Police
Hemant Karkare, who fell to bullets of Lashker-e-Taiba
terrorists on November 26, 2008 during the Mumbai attacks.

All the accused have been booked under various
sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Maharashtra Control
of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), Unlawful Activities Prevention
Act (UAPA), Arms Act and Explosive Substances Act.

The sources said that a team led by Joint Director
Kandaswamy is camping in the power loom city and will examine
all forensic evidence that had been collected by the ATS,
which was led by the then Joint Commissioner K P Raghuvanshi
and his Deputy Inspector General Subodh Jaiswal.

The CBI was re-examining all the forensic and
explosive material seized from the area in connection with the
four bomb explosions in the communally-sensitive Malegaon on
September 8, 2006.

Besides examining the material evidence, the CBI was
also likely to question some of the officials attached with
the investigations which include the then Additional
Superintendent of Police (Rural) Nashik Rajvardhan, a 1997 IPS
officer, who has been accused of being behind the alleged
wrongful arrests earlier in the case.

The CBI plans to examine the role of officials of
Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad, which had filed a charge sheet
against nine people in the case, and re-visit their
investigations into the case, official sources said.

Those arrested were Shabbir Ahmed Masiullah, Noorul
Huda Samsudoha, Raees Ahmed Mansuri, Salman Farsi Aimi, Farogh
Iqbal Magdumi, Mohammed Ali Shaikh, Asif Khan, Mohammed Abdul
Ansari and Abrar Gulam Ahmed.

The day happened to be Shab-e-Baraat, considered
auspicious among Muslims, when they assemble to pay respects
to their dead kin. The police claimed that 20 kgs of RDX were
smuggled to Malegaon and around five kgs were used to make the
bombs that killed over 35 people.

Both the CBI and the ATS had failed in identifying the
two persons who had planted the explosives on the fateful day
and also did not succeed in detecting the arming mechanism of
the the bombs.

The agency will also seek the help of Rajasthan
Anti-Terror Squad which had had considerable headway in
exposing the terror network of right-wing groups.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 14:11

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