CBI to take custody of Asseemanand in Malegaon 2006 probe

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Mumbai, Feb 22 (PTI) CBI is mulling taking SwamiAseemanand into custody in connection with its probe in the2006 Malegaon blasts case after the agency questioned some ofthe accused belonging to a right wing outfit arrested forallegedly planting bombs in Malegaon in 2008.

Highly-placed CBI sources said today preliminaryquestioning of accused including Sadhvi Pragya and sacked Armycolonel S P Purohit, Dayanand Pandey, Praveen Mutalik andRakesh Dhawde awas done fter seeking the requisite persmissionfrom the court as they were in judicial custody in connectionwith the Malegaon blasts of 2008.

They said custodial interrogation of Swami Aseemanand wasrequired in the case and that his custody would be taken soonin this case from Panchkula court, where he was produced bythe NIA for their investigations in the Samjhauta blasts.

Senior officials of the agency, requesting anonymity,said the custodial questioning of Aseemanand was necessitatedby the turn of events as the Malegaon 2008 accused werestonewalling the probe and denying their role in the blasts.

Asseemanand, who was recently arrested by CBI, hasstated in his confessional statement before a magistrate thatthe Malegaon blast of 2006 was masterminded by Hindu groupAbhinav Bharat and that a muslim youth arrested in the casehad brought about a change in his heart which led him to spillthe beans.

Assemanand, alias Jatin Chatterjee, had alleged in hisstatement that RSS activists had murdered worker Sunil Joshi,who along with others was responsible for Malegaon 2006blasts.

This statement of Asseemanand led the investigators tothe terror trail leading to Hindu right-wing groups in 2006bombings in Maharashtra''s powerloom town that left 35people dead.

Besides Thakur, Purohit, Mutalik, Dhawdekar and Pandey,the CBI will also question Ajay Rahirkar, ShivnarayanKalsangra,Shyam Sahu, retired army official Ramesh Upadhyay,Sameer Kulkarni, Jagdish Mhatre and Sudhakar Chaturvedi in thecase, the sources said.

All of them were arrested by Maharashtra ATS forallegedly carrying out blasts at Malegaon on September 29,2008 that left six dead and several others injured.

These arrests had given a new direction to the probesinto the terror acts in the country with the suspected role ofHindu extremist groups being brought to fore by JointCommissioner of Police Hemant Karkare who was killed in theMumbai attacks.

The sources said a CBI team led by a Joint Directorcamped in Malegaon and will examine all forensic evidence thathad been collected by the ATS, which was led by the then JointCommissioner K P Raghuvanshi and his Deputy Inspector GeneralSubodh Jaiswal. .

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