CBI to reinvestigate '06 Malegaon blast

Last Updated : 13 January 2011, 18:19 IST
Last Updated : 13 January 2011, 18:19 IST

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Special MCOCA court judge Y D Shinde acceded to a CBI submission to reinvestigate the case which brings into question earlier investigations by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

Aseemanand, an accused in Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts cases, has allegedly named Hindu extremists for setting off the explosions.

Investigations into a second terror attack in 2008 in Malegaon was allegedly engineered by right wing Hindu groups led to the arrest of Sadhvi Pragya and Lt Col Srikanth Purohit, both of whom are suspected to have links with the BJP.

The CBI was represented by counsel Ejaz Khan, who sought permission to reinvestigate the Malegaon blasts following fresh disclosures by Aseemanand.

Thirty-one people were killed and over 295 injured, mostly Muslims, on September 8, 2006, on the eve of Shab-e-Barat, when Muslims remember their dead.

Four bombs tied to bicycles exploded in the communally sensitive township. Two bombs exploded outside the Hamidya Mosque, another at Mushawara chowk and a third in Kabrastan area inside the mosque complex.

The ATS had picked up nine activists of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) from Malegaon and later chargesheeted them for conspiring to create terror and infuriate the Muslim community.

The document ran over 2,000 pages and referred to a Pakistan hand, as it had named two Pakistanis whom it said were involved in bomb-making.

However, when the people of Malegaon and various Muslim organisations expressed their anger over the ATS investigations, the probe was handed over to the CBI on December 20, 2006, the very day on which the ATS filed its chargesheet.

Aseemanand’s purported confession led the parents of the nine accused to call on the Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil and seek their immediate release. Patil then wrote to the CBI to reinvestigate the matter afresh.

Second explosion

Following the second Malegaon blast in 2008, the ATS, then headed by Joint Commissioner Hemant Karkare, who was killed in the November 2008 Mumbai terror strikes, arrested Sadhvi Pragya and Lt Col Purohit, along with their mentor Swami Dayanand Pandey. Some members of ‘Abhivan Bharat’ outfit were also nabbed and were charged under provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act or MCOCA.

It was for the first time that the role of extremist Hindus was unravelled in a terrorist plot, giving rise to fears of revenge killings and involvement of radical Hindutva organisations. A senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar too is being investigated in connection with the Ajmer blast.

Published 13 January 2011, 13:07 IST

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