Over a year before the October 11, 2007 Ajmer dargah blast which killed three and injured 15, Yogi Adityanath, then BJP MP and now Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, met one of the main convicts in the case Sunil Joshi (now dead), as per a statement by one of Joshi’s former aides.
The meeting, according to an investigation by the Rajasthan ATS and the National Investigation Agency, took place at Adityanath’s residence in Gorakhpur in March-April 2006. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) later claimed to have found Yogi’s contact numbers in the pocket diary of Joshi, recovered after his (Joshi) murder in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh, in December 2007.
When contacted, the CMO did not comment, that Yogi and Joshi meet was mentioned by Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar, an aide of Swami Aseemanand. Rateshwar, named as an accused in the Ajmer blast case by the NIA, was acquitted by the special NIA court this month that convicted Joshi, a former RSS pracharak, and Bhavesh Patel and Devendra Gupta. Both got life term by the NIA court yesterday.
In his statement recorded first before the NIA and then a judge, now part of court records, Rateshwar said he was tasked by Aseemanand in March 2006 to travel with Sunil Joshi alias Manoj. “…Manoj informed me over phone that Swami Aseemanand has directed him to visit Jharkhand, Agra, Gorakhpur and Nagpur for some special tasks and I also should go with him. I confirmed the same from Aseemanand ji…” it reads.
According to the chargesheet, Rateshwar and Joshi met at Indore and travelled to Chittaranjan where they were received by Devender Gupta, “a RSS Zila Pracharak of Jamtara and stayed with him at RSS Karyalaya Jamtara…After staying for two days in Jamtara, I along with Manoj reached Agra as per direction of Swami Aseemanand and met with Rajeshwar Singh who was associated with Agra Gramin Sangh.”
Rajeshwar was a key suspect identified behind conversion of more than 200 Muslims in Agra in 2015. “…Rajeshwar Singh took both of us to Gorakhpur in his vehicle. Next day we reached Gorakhpur and met with Shri Yogi Adityanath, MP in his Ashram. Rajeshwar Singh introduced us to Shri Yogi Adityanath with the reference of Swami Aseemanand. Manoj (Joshi) asked him to meet separately then Yogi Adityanath told him he is busy and will meet in the evening,” Rateshwar stated.
As per the statement, Rateshwar said, “We stayed in the guest house of Ashram and about 9 pm Manoj and myself went to meet Yogi Adityanath in his drawing room separately. On reaching, I remained present at some distance but Manoj went very close to Yogi Adityanath and sat near to his wooden bed on the knees and discussed something secretly and in low voice. Thereafter we came back to Valsad and Indore, respectively. After few days, I informed Aseemanand about the visit…”
Rateshwar’s counsel J S Rana said, “His statement was recorded as witness and later on he was made an accused so the statement has no sanctity.”
The case was initially probed by the Rajasthan ATS which arrested Lokesh Sharma, Devendra Gupta, among others and filed first chargesheet on October 22, 2010. In 2011, it was transferred to the NIA.
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