Malegaon: Two big Hindu Leaders Under Scanner

Prafulla Marpakwar/TNN

Mumbai, Nov 12: After arresting a sadhvi, a serving army officer and a retired army officer, a bigger breakthrough is on the cards in the sensational case involving the Malegaon blast of September 29, which killed six people and left 89 injured.

During the course of investigations, the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has found that there has been direct or indirect involvement by two high-profile though non-political leaders who owe allegiance to pro-Hindu organisations.

‘‘Our investigations are at a very crucial stage. During the probe, we found that the two non-political leaders, who are not from Maharashtra, had played a vital role in assisting a section of the accused in the Malegaon bomb blast. We will disclose their names at the appropriate time,’’ a senior IPS official told TOI on Tuesday.

While three ATS teams reached UP on Tuesday in search of a ‘‘high-profile leader’’ in connection with the case, there was a lot of speculation on who the leader was. Gorakhpur BJP MP Yogi Adityanath lashed out at claims that he was the suspect. ‘‘I am prepared to face any inquiry or willing to support or cooperate with the ATS if it has some clinching evidence against me,’’ he told TOI, adding that the ATS would face severe retaliation if it only wanted to defame him.

Speaking to TOI, an IPS official said that the ATS was also probing if the accused in the Malegaon bomb blast case had any links with three other blasts, those at Nanded and Ajmer and the blast in the Samjhauta Express in January 2007.

‘‘In the course of investigations, certain information was received about the involvement of the Malegaon blast accused in the Nanded, Ajmer and Samjhauta Express blasts. We are trying to examine if these cases are linked to the Malegaon blast case,’’ the official said.

On the present status of the probe, the IPS official claimed that the ATS had conclusive evidence to establish the direct involvement of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as well as Purohit and Retired Major R Upadhyaya in the blast.

‘‘From our investigations, it has been confirmed that the sadhvi was fully aware of the entire plan. She had complete knowledge of the plan, before and after. Now we are looking out for four other people, two of whom were entrusted with the task of bringing the vehicle, along with the bombs, to the spot and two others were responsible for providing logistical support. All the four have been identified, along with addresses. All are from outside Maharashtra. Once we arrest them, we will be able to complete the missing link in the case,’’ the IPS official said.

On the investigators’ search for a prominent leader in Uttar Pradesh, the IPS official said it was unfortunate that the media had blown the matter out of proportion. ‘‘We are tackling this case very carefully. We will not detain any person unless we have adequate evidence against him. Even the sadhvi and army officials were detained after complete homework was done. As far as the Uttar Pradesh leader is concerned, he is associated with a religious group. To ensure that there should be no legal hurdles, we have sought permission from the Nashik court for his interrogation. If he is found involved, we will detain him as per provisions of the law,’’ the IPS official said. 


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