Days after the National Investigating Agency (NIA) took over the probe into the Diwali bomb blast in Goa,police in the state have said they have found links between the Sanatan Sanstha members blamed for the blast and the Hindu extremists of Abhinav Bharat accused in the September 2008 Malegaon bomb blast.
The Goa Police investigation have unearthed phone records to show that some key members of the two Hindu groups had been in touch in the past and this was one of the reasons for the case to be handed over to the NIA,sources here said. The NIA took over the investigation on December 17.
I can only say that this case has links with Sadhvi (Pragya) and Colonel (Shrikant) Purohit, Goas Inspector-General of Police K D Singh told The Indian Express. There is evidence… It would be inappropriate to share more information as the case has now been handed over to the National Investigating Agency.
Sources in Goa Police said that they found the links when investigating the backgrounds of Malgounda Patil and Yogesh Naik,the two Sanatan members who were killed after one of the three bombs they were allegedly planting at a Diwali celebration in Margao went off on the night of October 16.
When we checked call records from January this year,we found that he was in touch with a close family member of Purohit. After analysing call records before January 2009,we found calls between Patil and Sadhvi Pragya before the (Malegaon) blast, one officer said.
Investigators also suspect that Patil may have been in touch with Purohit. Patil is believed to have had several mobile phone SIMs procured using fake identity documents.
This is probably one of the reasons why Patil managed to evade investigating agencies in the past, the officer said,adding that at least one of Patils SIMs had been procured using a fake voter ID card bearing the picture of a lawyer working with the state law department.
Patil was the managing trustee of a trust which had more than 70 bank accounts across the country and also had connections all over the country. The money collected in the name of religion was deposited in his account. Since the accounts are spread across the country,it would be appropriate for NIA to investigate where the money was spent, the officer said.
Goa Police have since arrested 28-year-old Vinay Talekar,who had an MBA in Human Resources and was working with a local five-star hotel,and an alleged accomplice,Vinayak Patil.
They have also picked up Dhananjay Ashtekar who was studying engineering in Kolhapur district in Maharashtra,and Dilip Mangaonkar,who had links with the Sanstha. While Talekar and Vinayak Patil have been accused of planting the fourth bomb in Sancaole town near Margaon,Ashtekar is suspected of helping assemble the explosives.
Sadhvi Pragyasingh Thakur and Col. Purohit are among 11 Abhinav Bharat members arrested in connection with the September 29,2008,Malegaon blast in which six people were killed. As reported by The Indian Express earlier,Malgounda Patil is also said to have been in touch with Sanatan member Vikram Bhave,who was arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad last year in connection with the crude bombs planted on the outskirts of Mumbai.