Key Malegaon blast accused Mutalik held, handed over to ATS

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Mumbai, Feb 1 (PTI) In a major boost to the 2008Malegaon blast probe involving radical Hindu outfits, theMaharashtra ATS has arrested a key accused, Praveen Mutalik,from Karnataka, who dodged the police for over two years.

Praveen Venkatesh Takalki alias Praveen Mutalik waspicked from Gokak town in Belgaum district of Karnataka latelast night, Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Rakesh Maria said.

Mutalik, a member of Abhinav Bharat, was producedbefore a Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA)court which remanded him in police custody till February 14.

The 32-year-old had worked as a personal secretary toLt Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, another key accused heldin the case, for three months before the blast.

Describing Mutalik as an "important link in the probeand integral part of the criminal conspiracy", who attendedsecret meetings at Nashik, Panchwadi and Pune, Maria said hisinterrogation will help the investigators ascertain as to whatexactly happened on days preceding the blast.

On September 22, 2008, Mutalik had taken keys of therented room of Sudhakar Chaturvedi (37), another arrestedaccused in the case, where the explosive devices had beenassembled.

"Forensic evidence has established that the samples ofRDX collected from the room and the samples found at the siteof the blast did match," Maria said.

Six people had been killed and scores wounded in thebomb blast on September 29, 2008, in communally sensitivepowerloom town Malegaon in Nashik district. .

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