Friday, Sep 30, 2022

Malegaon net spreads, CBI director says link ‘established’ with Nanded 2006 blast

The network of accused in the Malegaon blast-from a Sadhvi with ABVP links to a retired Major and a serving Army officer-may spread deeper and wider, CBI director Ashwani Kumar said that there is a link between the Malegaon blast on Sept 29 and the one in Nanded two years ago.

In the first official admission that the network of accused in the Malegaon blast—from a Sadhvi with ABVP links to a retired Major and a serving Army officer—may spread deeper and wider, CBI director Ashwani Kumar said today that there is a link between the Malegaon blast on September 29 and the one in Nanded two years ago.

In that incident, in April 2006, two Bajrang Dal activists were killed while they were allegedly assembling a bomb in a Nanded home. A CBI team headed by Joint Director Arun Kumar visited the headquarters of the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad yesterday and will question Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit and the other eight accused who were arrested by the ATS.

“A link has been established between Nanded and Malegaon blasts,” director Ashwani Kumar told The Sunday Express today. “Its details cannot be disclosed at the moment,” he said, but added: “Our team had gone there to investigate that very link since we are investigating the April 2006 Nanded blast case.”

Ironically, the CBI—which took over the Nanded probe from the ATS—glossed over the alleged network of the accused when it filed its chargesheet earlier this year. Teesta Setalvad, of Communalism Combat, told The Sunday Express that she would file a petition next week in the Supreme Court challenging the CBI’s Nanded chargesheet.

Subscriber Only Stories
Shashi Tharoor: ‘I don’t think everyone who voted BJP in 2014...Premium
Ahead of Centre’s ban, chorus from Sangh, affiliatesPremium
Volatile INR still relatively stable; what now?Premium
Hindu-Muslim violence in the UK: Revisiting LeicesterPremium

The CBI director said that the September 29 Malegaon blast — in which five Muslims were killed after Ramzan prayers — is being probed by the ATS alone. “Ours was an informal interaction with ATS officials. But we are ready to assist them in the Malegaon blast case if they need any kind of help,” he said.

For, investigators said, there are parallels.

The probe into the Nanded blast had claimed to have exposed the alleged role of a former Indian Navy official in the training of Bajrang Dal activists. It had also identified Bhonsala Military School in Nashik as one venue where such training camps were organised under the supervision of ex-servicemen. And that the training camp was attended by those accused in the Nanded blast.

This is the same school that has come under the scanner now. It was here, ATS officials claim, that in April this year, Lt Col Purohit, Pragya Singh Thakur and other accused held one of a series of meetings before the blasts. Colonel (retd) S S Raikar, the school commandant has been questioned by the ATS.


The Nanded blast took place at the residence of a retired Irrigation Department engineer and RSS activist Lakshman Rajkondawar. His son Naresh Rajkondwar and Himanshu Panse, both Bajrang Dal activists, were killed while four were seriously injured.

The ATS named Sanatkumar Ragvithal Bhate, a retired Navy officer from Pune, as one of several witnesses in the case. In his statement to the ATS, he claimed that in March or April 2000, he had received a telephone call from a Bajrang Dal office located near the Saraswati Mandir School in Pune and was allegedly asked by Bajrang Dal leader Milind Parade to train his activists in the use of gelatin sticks at a camp in the city.

Bhate is said to have admitted that he trained around 50 activists, including Himanshu Panse. According to his statements, Bhate was then asked by Parade to help in a bigger camp organised in the Bhonsala Military School, for which Parade and three of his associates carried 300 gelatin sticks with them from Pune.


Bhate told ATS investigators that the camp was organised by the RSS and about 115 activists from across the country were trained in karate, ground obstacles and firing of revolvers. Two retired ex-serviceman and a senior retired officer from the IB were also present, he stated.

The ATS chargesheeted 11 people for criminal conspiracy, all with links to Hindutva organisations. It also linked them to attacks on mosques and against Muslims in towns of Jalna, Parbhani and Purna around that time. Later, the case was transferred to the CBI which filed its chargesheet in March 2008 and dropped charges against Laxman Rajkondwar in whose house the blast had occurred.

First published on: 09-11-2008 at 02:39:13 am
Next Story

Information on your fingertips at Gujarat bus stations

Latest Comment
Post Comment
Read Comments