Mumbai, Oct 29: Retired major Ramesh Upadhyay and Bhopal printing press employee Sameer Kulkarni, who had been picked up earlier for suspected roles in the Malegaon blast that killed six persons on September 29, were arrested on Tuesday. ( Watch )
Sources also said that the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has sought permission from the military to question a serving armyman, posted at Panchmarhi in Madhya Pradesh, in the same case.
According to the ATS, Upadhyay, who served in the intelligence wing of the army, trained Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and her two associates, arrested last week in the Malegaon case, in the art of making bombs. Upadhyaya was picked up on Sunday from Akurdi in Pune. Upadhayay and Kulkarni will be produced in a Nashik court on Wednesday.
"Upadhayay could not give satisfactory answers when we were corroborating his statement with those of the other acccused. We suspect that he taught the arrested accused to assemble a bomb," said an ATS officer.
Upadhyay once headed the BJP's Mumbai unit of ex-servicemen's cell. Sources said that he was removed by higher authorities.
Upadhyay's name cropped up during the interrogation of Pragya, Shamlal Sahu and Shivnarayan Singh.
The trio have been remanded to police custody till November 3. ATS sources said Kulkarni, along with another person whose identity has not been disclosed yet, was picked up on October 26.
According to VHP-RSS sources, Kulkarni, also known as Chanakya, came to Bhopal from Maharashtra two years ago and started a social outfit, Abhinav Bharat Sansthan. He also ran an NGO while working for a printing press at MP Nagar in Bhopal. Saffron activists remember him as a smart, young and sharp speaker.
Apart from educating Hindus about festivals through pamphlets, Kulkarni used to raise Hindutva issues either through his Abhinav Bharat Sansthan platform or from other podiums, the sources said, adding that Kulkarni could be seen at major Hindutva functions in Bhopal.