Kanpur, Nov.12 : A prominent religious leader of Uttar Pradesh was arrested on Wednesday by anti-terror squad officials of Mumbai on suspicion that he had played a role in the Malegaon bomb blasts.
Dayanand Pandey was arrested in Kanpur and is being taken to Lucknow for further questioning, said Uttar Pradesh's Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Brijlal.
Pandey reportedly heads a religious outfit in Jammu.
The serial bomb blasts in Malegaon took place on September 8, 2006, 290 km northeast of Mumbai, and claimed the lives of 37 people and injured over 125 more.
It took place in a Muslim cemetery, adjacent to a mosque during Friday prayers on the Shab e Bara'at holy day. Most of the blast victims were Muslim pilgrims.
Security forces then spoke of "two bombs attached to bicycles", but other reports indicated that three devices had exploded. A stampede ensued after the devices exploded. A curfew was imposed in the town and state paramilitaries were deployed in sensitive areas to prevent unrest.
Maharashtra Police have claimed that the blasts were the handiwork of Student Islamic Movement of India, but now there are reports of a Hindu terror network being behind it.
Earlier this week, Maharashtra Police arrested Lt Col Shrikant Purohit in connection with the case, while the Army has placed him under a Discipline-Vigilance Ban that would ensure he gets no promotions or new postings and also relieved him of current responsibilities.
The ban, a routine order which came the day the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) took him into custody for questioning, would be enforced till the time the probe is completed and a report, either indicting Purohit or exonerating him in the case, is submitted, Army sources said in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Till the time a competent court of law acquits him in the case, the ban would continue, but Purohit would be entitled to his emoluments and also retain official accommodation till then.
Purohit, a Military Intelligence officer, was last studying a couple of foreign languages in the Army Education Corps school at Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh, from where he was sent into ATS custody by the Army for questioning with regard to his alleged role in the Malegaon blasts.
Meanwhile, as announced by Defence Minister A K Antony, the Army also began an internal scrutiny of Purohit's service to determine if the record matched with unsolved incidents that may come to light and if he misused his military postings to help the main accused in the Malegaon case, sources said.
The service record was being checked to see if any arms, ammunition or explosives went missing or were stolen at a unit when he was posted there, sources added.