Malegaon case to reach conclusion soon: Karkare’s successor

By Abdul Hameed,,

Mumbai: The Malegaon blast case that was being investigated by slain Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare and which was uncovering a new face of terrorism in the country is likely to reach the conclusion soon.

Support TwoCircles

“We will be able to file a charge sheet within the stipulated time. We have sufficient evidence to prove culpability of the main accused,” KP Raghuvanshi, the new ATS head told DNA, a daily English newspaper.

The ATS in the leadership of Hemant Karkare had claimed to soon disclose a widespread network of Hindutva terrorism; an unexpected revelation that had caused trouble among the saffron outfits. The ATS arrested 11 prominent Hindu entities including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, the main accused, Dayanand Pandey, a self-styled seer, Lt Col Shrikant Purohit and eight others. The accused are allegedly members of the Jai Vande Mataram Jan Kalian Samiti, Abhinav Bharat and other right-wing Hindu organizations.

But unfortunately Karkare along with his two top rank officers Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte was ‘mysteriously’ killed during 26/11Mumbai terror attack. Then KP Raghuvanshi replaced him and ATS in his leadership is continuing the probe.

The agency has claimed to have collected enough evidences to nail the culprits. “We have all the required evidence, physical, technical and others, that will hold in court. We are on a firm footing,” said ATS additional commissioner, Parambir Singh.

ATS sources added that the physical evidence was the motorcycle the owner of which had been traced with the papers being in the name of Pragya Singh. ‘Telephone conversations she had with her aides,’ they said ‘is the technical evidence.’ And most of all, as reported, the officials have eyewitnesses and confessions.

The ATS under Hemant Karkare was in touch with the ATS teams of various states mainly Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh – the places where Kanpur, Ajmer Dargah and Makkah Masjid blasts had taken place – to find out about the vast network of the Hindu radical outfits that allegedly have foreign links too.

It was trying to link the Malegaon blast to East UP Hindu Network controlled by Yogi Adityanath who reportedly was one of the managers of a 2003 camp held at Sena Garh in Pune for training the Hindus in bomb making. Reportedly the explosions used in Malegaon September blast were similar to that used in Kanpur (UP) in which two Hindu activists Bhopendra Singh Chopra and Rajiv Mishra were killed while making bombs.

The present ATS officials in the leadership of Raghuvanshi are also in contact to the army, intelligence agencies and police officials of other states, mainly Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, for more details and evidence for this case. “The army has helped us a lot and they co-operated to give us details on Lt Col Purohit. We have got information and evidence on how he procured the arms, explosives and weapons,” an ATS official said.

Meanwhile Malegaon people on December 20 held a rally under the banner of Yuva Janta Dal (S) and demanded removal of Raghuvanshi from the ATS chief post saying he was pro-RSS. Raghuvanshi while investigating Malegaon 2006 blast had arrested many educated innocent Muslim youths.

The officials right now are concentrating very much on the two main accused Sadhvi Pragya and Lt. Col. Purohit. ‘Purohit and the Sadhvi are the main accused for the ATS. They planned, conspired, organized people and executed the whole explosion. Sadhvi’s group is involved in more cases than she has been claiming,’ Parambir Singh said.