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CBI to take custody of Asseemanand in 2006 Malegaon blasts probe

February 22, 2011 20:48 IST

The Central Bureau of Investigation is mulling taking Swami Aseemanand into custody in connection with its probe in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case after the agency questioned some of the accused belonging to a right wing outfit arrested for allegedly planting bombs in Malegaon in 2008.

Highly-placed CBI sources said the preliminary questioning of accused including Sadhvi Pragya and sacked Armyman Colonel S P Purohit, Dayanand Pandey, Praveen Mutalik and Rakesh Dhawde awas done after seeking the requisite persmission from the court as they were in judicial custody in connection with the Malegaon blasts of 2008.

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

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

Asseemanand, who was recently arrested by CBI, has stated in his confessional statement before a magistrate that the Malegaon blast of 2006 was masterminded by Hindu group Abhinav Bharat and that a Muslim youth arrested in the case had brought about a change in his heart which led him to spill the beans.

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

Asseemanand's statement led the investigators to the terror trail leading to Hindu right-wing groups in 2006 bombings in Maharashtra's Malegaon, that left 35 people dead.

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

All of them were arrested by Maharashtra ATS for allegedly 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 probes into the terror acts in the country with the suspected role of Hindu extremist groups being brought to fore by Joint Commissioner of Police Hemant Karkare who was killed in the Mumbai attacks.

The sources said a CBI team led by a Joint Director camped in Malegaon and will examine all forensic evidence that had been collected by the ATS, which was led by the then Joint Commissioner K P Raghuvanshi and his Deputy Inspector General Subodh Jaiswal.

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