Antony concerned over arrest of army officer

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New Delhi, Nov 7 : Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Friday expressed concern over the arrest of an army officer allegedly involved in the Malegaon bomb blasts case and assured assistance to the investigating agencies.

The police arrested Lieutenant-Colonel Srikant Prasad Purohit on Wednesday in connection with the Malegaon blasts that killed five people.

After giving away the 'Awards for Excellence' to Defence Public Sector Units in New Delhi, Antony while talking to reporters said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Government is determined to go to the root of the incident.

Replying to questions on arrest of the army officer, Antony said: "This incident is a matter of serious concern to all of us and we will go to the root of the whole thing."

He said the alleged involvement of the officer is being investigated into and both the Defence Ministry and the Army are extending full support to the investigating agencies and the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

"An inquiry by agencies outside the MoD is on. The Army and the MoD are assisting them (Maharashtra police and Information Bureau) and we are also taking steps internally," said Antony.

A local court in Nasik had remanded Purohit to police custody till November 15. The court had also approved conducting of narco-analysis test on Purohit.

Antony assured that necessary action would be taken on the basis of the report that the Maharashtra Police will submit.

Purohit is suspected to have helped bomb blast accused sadhvi Pragya Thakur, retired Army Major Ramesh Upadhyaya and his associate Sameer Kulkarni in procuring RDX used in the blasts.

Six other people have already been arrested in connection with the blasts.

Ajay Eknath Rahirkar, Jagdish Chintamani Mhatre and Rakesh Dattaram Dhawade were arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Sunday.

Earlier, Pragya Singh Thakur (a god woman), former Army official Ramesh Upadhyay and Sameer Kulkarni were arrested in connection with the blast.

A Nashik court on Monday sent Sadhvi Pragya Thakur to judicial custody till Novenber17, while the custody of other two accused - Ramesh Upadhyay and Sameer Kulkarni- will end on November 10.

ANI

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