NIA seeks transcripts of Aseemanand interview

Congress, Left demand probe into fresh claims

NIA seeks transcripts of  Aseemanand interview

Almost two weeks after the sensational claims of terror accused Swami Aseemanand on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat came to light through the Caravan magazine, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has now swung into action, asking the periodical to provide it with the tapes and transcript of the interview.

The agency has written a letter to the magazine asking it to provide the “audio recordings and transcript” of the controversial interview published in the February 1 issue, along with other relevant information.

“It is learnt that the article was published based on interviews held with Aseemanand in Ambala Jail, and it was audio-recorded by the reporter," said the NIA in its letter.

The move assumes significance as Aseemanand had never named Bhagwat or senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar in his confessions before court.

Aseemanand, associated with the RSS since the 1970s, had claimed in the interview that Bhagwat and Kumar

had prior knowledge of terror attacks like the Samjhauta blasts.

He later denied making any such claim, but the magazine made public the tapes of four interviews, purportedly held inside Ambala Jail over a period of two years. Caravan also put in its website transcripts of the interviews.

“We have received a letter from the NIA. We are responding to the NIA regarding their letter. We are asking them to come and collect the tapes and documents from us on Monday,” Caravan Executive Editor Vinod K Jose told Deccan Herald.

Aseemanand's claims had triggered a controversy, with the BJP and the Sangh Parivar alleging that the interviews were “concocted”.

The Congress, BSP, AAP and the Left parties have demanded further probe into the fresh claims as it implicated the RSS chief.According to the magazine, Aseemanand referred to a meeting in Gujarat’s Dangs in July 2005 with Bhagwat and Kumar. He claimed his accomplice Sunil Joshi allegedly informed Bhagwat of a plan to bomb several Muslim targets around India.

 Aseemanand quoted Bhagwat as saying, “You can work on this with Sunil. We will not be involved, but if you are doing this, you can consider us to be with you.

“Then they told me: Swamiji, if you do this we will be at ease with it. Nothing wrong will happen then.” he said.

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