'He never had anything to substantiate his allegations while dropping names. It was done more to divert the investigation,' NIA sources tell Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa.
A National Investigation officer, who questioned Swami Aseemanand, told Rediff.com, "He is known to drop big names in a bid to divert the probe. When we decide to act on it, he has always backtracked."
"He named Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi during his questioning, but there was absolutely nothing to suggest that Modi was aware of anything that Aseemanand was up to," the NIA agent added.
"Aseemanand," the NIA official revealed, "had said he met Modi during an RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) event in Ahmedabad, and the former had allegedly told him, 'It is decided I will become chief minister. Let me come to power and then I will do your work'."
The NIA discovered there was nothing to suggest that Modi had ever assured Aseemanand help with his alleged terror activities. Aseemanand was then part of a tribal rehabilitation programme in Gujarat's Dangs region.
Three years ago, the swami was taken to a Hyderabad jail where he met a Muslim youth who had been arrested in connection with the 2007 Mecca Masjid blasts.
After meeting the youth, Aseemanand claimed he had a change of heart and realised that innocents had been arrested for a crime he committed.
In a lengthy confession before the NIA, he declared that he had coined the slogan, 'Bomb ka badla bomb' (a bomb for a bomb). He went on to name others involved in the terror plot.
The NIA was in for a shock when Aseemanand later denied everything he had said in court, claiming he had confessed under duress.
"Although Assemanand denied the statements, it helped us attain a finality in several cases," NIA officials point out.
"He felt he was let down in a lot of respects," one NIA source said. "He never had anything to substantiate his allegations while dropping names. It was done more to divert the investigation."
The NIA has decided to stay away from the Aseemanand-Bhagwat controversy, saying this angle has never featured in its investigation.
"If he has said it, then he should say it before a court," one NIA source said. "We are not acting suo motu since he has denied making such a statement. The magazine (Caravan) claims it has ample proof, can also petition the court and implead themselves as a witness in the case. Depending on what the court says, we will act."