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Lt Col Purohit's laptop keeps cops guessing

Sumir Kaul in Mumbai | November 21, 2008 17:02 IST

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Investigations into the laptop of arrested Lt Col Srikant Purohit, a key accused in the Malegaon bomb blast case, has shown that the Army officer apparently visited anti-Muslim websites frequently but revealed nothing incriminating.

The laptop, handed over by the Army after a week of Purohit's arrest, was examined at a forensic laboratory during which, the probe agencies, claimed that he was often visiting anti-Muslim and jihadi websites, sources attached with the investigations said.

But, the investigators did not get details about the composition about the saffron outfit -- Abhinav Bharat -- whose cadres are alleged to be behind the blast in Malegaon on September 29 which they were looking for. This has raised questions whether the computer was tampered with, the sources said.

Questions were being raised by the sleuths as to why the laptop was removed by the Army authorities from Panchmari in Madhya Pradesh [Images] where Lt Col Purohit was undergoing language courses.

The Army was not forthcoming on this issue while some of its officials said that since Purohit was posted with Military Intelligence and there was a possibility that the laptop could have been scanned to look for any military secrets that could be detrimental to nation's security.

During the probe, the sleuths claimed that some of the accused including Purohit had said in the interrogation that the laptop contained details of other members of Abhinav Bharat group who could have had a role to play in the Malegaon blast.

The sources in the Defence Ministry said that it was Army's jurisdiction to prevent any army secrets from leaking into civilian hands.

However, investigators into the case, while agreeing to this clause of the Army, argue the same could have been done in the presence of seniors of Maharashtra's Anti-Terrorism Squad or central security agencies.

The sources claimed that the laptop could have details of persons who had undergone training in camps organised by Purohit and others and details of the monetary transactions that were carried out by members of the group.

As many as 11 people including the Lt Col and Sadhvi Pragya [Images] have been arrested in the case. The ATS, after getting the necessary sanction, also invoked stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime against the arrested accused to enable them to keep in judicial custody besides extending the scope of further custodial questioning.

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