Himani Savarkar,president of the radical Hindu outfit Abhinav Bharat,has denied giving a statement to the state ATS that she was aware of the Malegaon conspiracy.
In the chargesheet filed in the case,the Maharashtra ATS has said Savarkar told them that the location for the attack was decided by Lt Col Prasad Purohit during a meeting that she attended.
Police Inspector Peter Lobo of the Pune ATS unit,who says Savarkar was interrogated by his team,stands by the chargesheet. Whatever is there is true, he said.
However,talking to The Indian Express in Pune,Savarkar said: I admitted that I was present during the Abhinav Bharat meeting at Bhopal in April 2008. But I never said Purohit discussed the Malegaon location during this meeting.
According to her,The Bhopal meeting was an aam sabha of the Abhinav Bharat,in which Sadhvi Pragya (Singh Thakur),Shankaracharya or Dayanand Pandey,Asimanandji,Sameer Kulkarni and some local activists were present. I was present for another Abhinav Bharat aam sabha at Jabalpur sometime in June-July 2008.
Savarkar said Purohit was not present at any of these meetings. We only discussed topics such as Hindu nationalism and the need to organise and strengthen Hindus at both the meetings.
On January 20,the state ATS filed a nearly 4,000-page chargesheet in the Malegaon blast case. According to it,Kulkarni invited Savarkar as chairperson for a meeting of the Abhinav Bharat in Bhopal in April 2008. The chargesheet says Savarkar told them that around 100-150 persons attended this meeting at a Ram temple,of which she knew only Kulkarni.
Savarkar also stated that after the meeting was over,Lt Col Prasad Purohit addressed a closed-door meeting in a room on the first floor of the Ram temple,where he said,There is a huge population of Muslims in Malegaon. If something is done in Malegaon,it would be like taking revenge for the atrocities against Hindus.
The chargesheet says that Savarkar told them that at this point,Pragya told Purohit she had the manpower to do this. She also claims to have walked out on hearing this.
She also mentions Kulkarni,Ramesh Upadhyay and Sudhakar Chaturvedi as members of the outfit and admits to knowing Pandey and Pragya. She,however,denies having any links with Rakesh Dhawade,Ajay Rahirkar,Jagdish Mhatre,Sham Apte,Sharad Kunte and Col Shailesh Raikar,the others named in the chargesheet.