The Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested Suresh Nair, an accused in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast who was on the run for 11 years, from Gujarat’s Bharuch on Sunday. The National Investigating Agency (NIA), which is investigating the case, had declared a Rs 2 lakh reward for Nair’s arrest.
According to the ATS, Nair had allegedly supplied bombs that were planted at the famous Sufi shrine in Rajasthan, which killed three persons and injured 17 others on October 11, 2007. He was also allegedly present at the spot when the bomb was planted.
ATS officials said that Nair, alleged to have been associated with several Hindu religious outfits, including RSS, had been evading arrest soon after his name cropped up during the investigation. Over the last decade, he changed his name to “Uday Guruji” and was living in disguise of a “sant”, a religious man. Nair is listed among the “most wanted” men on the NIA website.
Nair was arrested while he was performing a religious ritual called Narmada Parikrama at Shukaltirth fair in Bharuch district, said the ATS.
“The operation was based on human intelligence. We came to know that Suresh would be coming to Shukaltirth in Bharuch. Accordingly, we sent a team to the place and kept a watch. He arrived two days ago, and his whole appearance had changed. He had a full beard and long hair like a sadhu,” said a senior ATS officer, who was part of the team that arrested Nair. “We had got a sketch of his present look which was similar to how he looks now,” said another officer.
A statement released by the ATS stated, “A team of ATS Gujarat had successfully identified Suresh Nair on his arrival at the place today (Sunday) morning and apprehended the said accused.”
After he was apprehended from Bharuch, Nair was shifted to Ahmedabad for further investigation, the ATS said, adding that he would be handed over to the NIA.
Nair’s arrest is significant. This is the first arrest of an absconding accused in terror cases of 2006-08 involving right wing Hindutva groups under the NDA regime, which has largely seen NIA cases falling in the courts on account of witnesses turning hostile.
Nair’s role is key to the blast probe as he was among the three people who had allegedly received explosives from convicted but slain accused Sunil Joshi and transported them to Ajmer. Two of his accomplices — former RSS pracharaks Bhavesh Patel and Devendra Gupta — are the only people convicted in a terror case involving Hindutva groups till now.