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Was Sunil Joshi killed for his links to SIMI?

Last updated on: March 03, 2011 17:56 IST

The murder of Sunil Joshi, an RSS worker, had initially been attributed to SIMI functionaries, but in a new twist the MP police has chargesheeted Joshi's cohorts and named Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur as the main accused. Vicky Nanjappa tries to make sense of this latest development.

Ever since the police began investigations into the Malegaon blasts case, Sunil Joshi's name has popped up during investigations at critical times. During the initial investigation, it was said that Malegoan blast accussed Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur was in a relationship with Joshi. However according to these people, Joshi was killed by members of the Students Islamic Movement of India and to avenge this, the Sadhvi decided to seek revenge by plotting the Malegaon blasts.

However, there is an entirely different version to this case now. The chargesheet filed by the Madhya Pradesh police states clearly that Sadhvi Pragya masterminded Joshi's killing.

The plan to counter Islamic terrorism was hatched several years ago. The likes of Colonel Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Swami Aseemanand, Swami Dayanand Pandey, Sunil Joshi, Ramji Kalsanghra and the rest were all part of this. Joshi was a crucial operative.

When Abhinav Bharat was launched with its so called propaganda of protecting Hindu interests, they realised that they needed to monitor the movements of the SIMI which was undoubtadely the Lashkar-e-Tayiba's Indian outfit.

Abhivav Bharat were novices at spreading terror and they thought that they needed to trail the SIMI activists and also understand how they functioned. During the interrogation of Purohit it became clear that the manner in which the bombs were made were all adopted from SIMI cadres.

Abhivav Bharat wanted a man to mingle with the SIMI activists. Joshi was chosen for this job and he moved around with the SIMI cadres for nearly three years.

During this period he started sharing information about SIMI's activities and also picked up the manner in which they set up their modules and also procured equipment to carry out bomb blasts.

Today despite a chargesheet being filed against Sadhvi Pragya, confusion still looms large over  Sunil Joshi's death. Speaking to the investigating agencies both in Madhya Pradesh police as well the Central Bureau of Investigation it becomes clear that Joshi had too much information with him.

The version that the police give out is that Joshi was absconding following the murder of Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Pyara Singh Nenama. There was a massive hunt for Joshi and his teammates felt that his arrest may lead to him spilling the beans on the entire outfit and their operations. However doubts are raised over this theory since a section feel that he was well protected since they had a friendly government in Madhya Pradesh and also the fact he was too committed to the cause to spill the beans.

Another angle which investigating agencies are seriously probing is Joshi's affiliation with SIMI. Investigating officers say during his stint with the SIMI, Joshi mingled with them all the time. In fact, his closeness to SIMI activists had started to worry his group members. They feared that he may spill the beans to the SIMI members or may even get caught with them since at that point of time, there was a crackdown on SIMI members.

During his last days there was a great deal of misunderstanding between Joshi and his team. Joshi maintained that he was only undertaking the job of counter-terrorism which was assigned to him. However his associates misunderstood this and felt that he may end up spilling the beans on them which eventually led to his murder.

The case is however at a very preliminary stage and the MP police may well file an application to file an additional chargesheet in this case.

Sadhvi's lawyer Ganesh Sovani says that he is yet to receive a copy of the chargesheet. "This is something new to me and I am yet to look into it. However I would also like to add that all through the investigations into the Malegaon case and the arguments that followed, this angle had never cropped up."

Vicky Nanjappa