CBI team to camp in Malegaon; may question ATS officials

Sumir Kaul

Malegaon/Mumbai, Jan 30 (PTI) In the light of aconfession by Swami Aseemanand, the CBI will re-examine allthe evidence in the 2006 Malegaon blast case and has decidedto depute a special team to the powerloom city to conduct afresh probe in the case.

The CBI plans to examine the role of officials ofMaharashtra Anti-Terror Squad, which had chargesheeted ninepeople in the case, and re-visit their investigations into thecase, official sources said.

35 people were killed in the blast that rocked thepowerloom city of Malegaon in 2006.

The sources said that a team led by Joint DirectorKandaswamy will be camping in this powerloom city and examineall the forensic evidence that had been collected by the ATS,which was led by the then Joint Commissioner K P Raghuvanshiand his Deputy Inspector General Subodh Jaiswal.

The arming mechanism of the three explosions were notidentified by the ATS but it was quick enough in making thearrests and later filing charge sheet against nine people --Shabbir Ahmed Masiullah, Noorul Huda Samsudoha, Raees AhmedMansuri, Salman Farsi Aimi, Farogh Iqbal Magdumi, Mohammed AliShaikh, Asif Khan, Mohammed Abdul Ansari and Abrar GulamAhmed.

Right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat member SwamiAssemanand, who was arrested by the CBI, has stated in hisconfessional statement before a magistrate that the Malegaonblast was masterminded by a Hindu group and that a boyarrested in the case had brought about a change in his heartwhich led to he spilling the beans.

The ATS had also filed a chargesheet in the casedespite the Maharashtra government''s decision to hand over theinvestigations to the CBI in December 2006. The ATS counselhad admitted before the Bombay High Court that it was notaware of the Government''s decision of handing over the probeto the CBI.

The CBI, which remained silent on the issue, had alsosubmitted a charge sheet in February last year during whichthe agency had put forward a taped conversation between Abrarand other conspirators.

Both the CBI and the ATS had failed in identifying thetwo persons who had planted the explosives on the fateful day.

However, an internal enquiry showed that the tapedconversation was provided by one of the sources of the ATS tothe CBI. The contents of the tape had been been questioned inthe court by Abrar.

Abrar had alleged in his petition that he was made tospeak on the phone to someone by the then Superintendent ofPolice (Rural) Rajvardhan, a 1997 batch IPS officer, who isnow Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Special Branch.


The CBI is planning to examine Rajvardhan as well in connection with the case besides some other religiousorganisation in Malegaon.

CBI, earlier this month, had approached the specialMCOCA court seeking permission for re-investigating the casein wake of "confession" statements made by Swami Aseemanandlinking Hindu groups to terror acts.

Accepting CBI''s arguments, special MCOCA Judge Yatin DShinde granted the agency permission under section 173 (8) ofCriminal Procedure Code to reinvestigate the case.

Assemanand, alias Jatin Chatterjee, had stated in hisstatement that his RSS'' murdered worker Sunil Joshi and otherswere responsible for Malegaon 2006 blasts.

Four bombs planted in Malegaon, thecommunally-sensitive powerloom township had exploded onSeptember 8. The day happened to be Shab-e-Baraat, consideredauspicious among Muslims, when they assemble to pay respectsto their dead kin.

The police claimed 20 kg RDX was smuggled to Malegaonand around five kg was used to make six bombs.

Malegaon had seen another terror attack in 2008allegedly by right wing Hindu groups and Sadhvi Pragya andformer Lt Col Srikanth Purohit were arrested in connectionwith the incident.

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