November 8, 2008 3:02:31 am
While the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) intensified the hunt for two persons who planted bombs, Ramji Kalsangra and his accomplice Samir Dange, they detained at least two people allegedly involved in the Malegaon blasts.
Surat resident Sunil Dhawadi, a member of the Indore-based Hindu Jagran Manch, and Pune-based Anil Mahajan have been picked up by the ATS.
Investigating agencies have also started probing if Lt Col Srikant Prasad Purohit, the Army officer arrested in the Malegaon case, was involved in other blasts.
Earlier this week, in a remand application filed in the Nashik Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court seeking his custody, the ATS said security agencies needed to probe if Purohit was involved in any other blasts.
On Friday, officials from the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the Nanded blast of April 2006, visited the ATS office in Mumbai.
In April 2006, a pipe bomb had exploded in the house of a retired PWD executive engineer, Laxman Rajkondwar, in Nanded. Investigations revealed that the dead and the injured were all active workers of the Bajrang Dal. Diaries and other documents seized from the residence of the accused also exposed their associations with the Bajrang Dal, the RSS and the VHP.
“Purohit’s possible involvement in training the accused in previous blasts such as the one in Nanded is also being probed,” said special ATS counsel Ajay Misar.
The remand application also states that following the arrest of Pragya Thakur, Purohit sent a message to co-accused Sameer Kulkarni instructing him to delete his number from his phone, and not to reply to the message and to leave Bhopal immediately.
According to the ATS, Purohit’s name first emerged during Pragya’s interrogation. It was found that she was associated with a group called Abhinav Bharat.
Interrogations of retired army officer Ramesh Upadhyay and Sameer Kulkarni revealed that a certain Prasad Purohit was in touch with the group through “secret meetings,” the remand application says.
They identified him as a serving officer. The ATS then passed on the details to the Army, which confirmed that Purohit was a serving officer.
Malegaon: It’s serious, but no Army inquiry, says Antony
Defence Minister A K Antony described the alleged involvement of a serving Army officer in the Malegaon blast as a “matter of serious concern”, but ruled out an internal inquiry by the Army. In his first reaction to the arrest of Lt Col S P Purohit, Antony said the ministry is waiting for a report from Mumbai Police and would take action based on the outcome of the probe.
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