The CBI claims that Ashok Varshney and Ashok Beri,senior RSS functionaries in Uttar Pradesh who were questioned in connection with the blasts at Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Sharif,have admitted that they were in touch with one of the Ajmer blast accused,Devendra Gupta,while he was on the run.
A former head of the Lucknow city unit of the RSS,Varshney now heads the Kanpur prant of the organisation. Beri was head of the UP unit of the RSS until March and was then elevated to the national executive of the RSS. Shiv Narayan Tripathi,prant pracharak of Kashi,replaced him as UP chief of the organisation in May.
The CBI,after obtaining custody of Gupta and Lokesh Sharma from an Ajmer court for questioning in the Mecca Masjid case,had taken them to Hyderabad on June 15. The RSS men,who had earlier been served notice to get their statements recorded before the CBI,had gone to Hyderabad with their lawyer and were questioned between June 21 and 25.
Sources in the RSS,however,maintained that Varshney was questioned in Gorakhpur where he was attending an RSS officers training camp while Beri was spoken to in Delhi.
A CBI officer in Delhi said Varshney and Beri were questioned in the presence of Gupta who was arrested by the Rajasthan police in April this year.
Varshney,the officer said,admitted that he arranged for Guptas stay in Kanpur during October and November 2009. Gupta told CBI that Beri organised accommodation for him in Lucknow and Sitapur during the same period but Beri,the officer said,denied this.
Gupta left for Muzaffarpur in Bihar and attended a RSS function there on December 25. Beri and Varshney were in touch with Gupta during his stay in Bihar and Jharkhand too,the officer said.
The RSS men,the officer claimed,admitted they were aware that Gupta was a suspect in the Ajmer blast case but both denied knowledge of any plot leading to the blasts at Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Sharif.
The CBI questioned them about Ramchandra Kalsangra alias Ramji and Sandeep Dange alias Parmanand,also wanted for the Ajmer and Malegaon blasts,but Varshney and Beri said they did not know the two men.
According to the officer,the two RSS men were also asked about the August 25,2008 explosion in Kanpur which killed two Bajrang Dal activists. Beri said he did not know them but Varshney admitted having met one of them,Bhupinder Singh,at Bajrang Dal gatherings,the officer said.
Rajiv Mishra was the other man who died with Bhupinder Singh while they were allegedly assembling a bomb in a flat owned by Mishra in the Kalyanpur area of Kanpur. Forensic tests found remains of potassium chlorate and arsenic sulphide at the spot. Some country-made grenades and timer devices too were found in the room.