Mecca Masjid blast accused to be produced in Hyderabad court


Hyderabad : The key accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case will be produced before a Hyderabad court Saturday, a day after he was arrested in Haridwar and brought here by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

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Jatin Chatterjee, also known as Swami Asimanand, is allegedly involved in the 2007 blast at the historic Mecca Masjid here.

The CBI arrested the 59-year-old Swami in Haridwar and produced him in a Delhi court, which granted the CBI his transit remand for two days. The court allowed the CBI plea to produce him in a Hyderabad court by Sunday.

Swami, considered an ideologue of Abhinav Bharat, an extremist organisation involved in the Malegaon and Ajmer blasts, was brought to Hyderabad early Saturday. CBI sources said he would be produced before a court later in the day.

The evasive Swami, also known as Swami Omkarnath and Naba Kumar Sarkar, was staying near Haridwar under an assumed name and had also managed to obtain forged identity documents. CBI recovered a passport issued by RPO Kolkata, a ration card and an election ID card issued by the Haridwar authorities from his possession.

Nine people were killed in the blast during Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid May 18, 2007. Five more people were killed in police firing when protests were held immediately after the blasts.

The Swami’s name surfaced during the probe into the 2008 Malegaon blast when Maharashtra Police recovered his driver’s number from Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon case.

A post-graduate in botany and hailing from Hoogly in West Bengal, Swami had shifted to Gujarat in the 1990s.

The CBI, the National Investigation Agency and Rajasthan Anti-Terrorism Squad are likely to interrogate him in connection with the Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and Ajmer blasts. This is also likely to help in the arrest of Sunil Dangre and Ramchandra Kalsangra, the absconding accused in the blasts. The CBI in June had announced a reward of Rs.10 lakh each for the arrest of the two who hail from Indore in Madhya Pradesh.

Two accused in the Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts are already lodged in a jail here. Devender Gupta and Lokesh Sharma, both members of Abhinav Bharat, were arrested by the Rajasthan ATS and the CBI brought them here in June.

One person was killed and 30 injured in the blast at Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti dargah in Ajmer in October 2007.