Mumbai ATS arrests Hindu activist from Kanpur in Malegaon case

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Lucknow, Nov 12 (UNI) Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) probing the recent Malegaon blast arrested Dayanand Pandey alias Amritanand Swami, a Hindu activist, from Kanpur early today.

The arrest was made from Rawatpur in Kanpur after a brief joint operation by the ATS teams of Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh. The two- member Mumbai ATS team had arrived here last night to seek the assistance of the UP ATS in this regard and proceeded to Kanpur early this morning.

Dayanand, a resident of Rawatpur in Kanpur, is connected with a religious math in Jammu and spends most of his time there, where he is known as Amritanand Swami.

Being brought here from Kanpur, Dayanand Pandey would be produced in the special ATS court here . ''Mumbai ATS will seek his remand for further interrogation,'' A senior UP police official told The Kanpur links with the Malegaon blast were under scanner since August 24 incident, in which two Bajrang Dal activists Bhupendra Singh Chopra and Rajiv Mishra were killed at Rajivnagar locality of Kanpur.

The expediency in the probe had come after Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur's arrest in Mumbai in connection with the Malegaon blast and subsequent revelation by the Maharashtra ATS in regards to her links with the Hindu organisations.

A lot of siginificance was attached to the Kanpur incident as a huge cache of explosives was recovered from the site that led to the suspicion that both were making bombs for carrying out terror attacks. Forensic reports had also suggested that the material recovered from the Kanpur blast site was similar to that of Malegaon blasts.

The UP ATS had been able to gather enough material and circumstantial evidence against the two Bajrang Dal activists, but since the blast killed both the bomb makers, it was difficult for them to substantiate their evidence.

The mobile phone calls of both the deceased were also traced in the process and according to a senior ATS official, ''they are in constant touch with Hindu activists in MP and Maharashtra and trying to establish a missing link, if any.'' ''Now the only point of probe is what role the Hindu activists of Kanpur had to play in the Malegaon blast and whether they had any connection with Pragya Singh Thakur,''the ATS official said yesterday.

Interestingly, Kanpur is the parliamentary constituency of Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal and the Centre was taking much interst in the expedient investigation in the Malegaon blasts.

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