The Samjautha Express, Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blasts are inter-linked, as per the investigative agencies and it is only a matter of time before the National Investigating Agency closes them.
The NIA has a dual job in all these cases now. Apart from having a lot to do they also have a lot to undo. At least 110 members from the Muslim community were arrested after being blamed for these attacks. While many of the accused in the Mecca Masjid blasts were let off by the court after investigations took a different turn, the same exercise needs to be conducted in the other two as well.
The NIA will face problems before these cases come to a close since there are still a few loose ends that need to be tied up.
Slow on Ajmer and Hyderabad:
The NIA has managed to file a chargesheet in the Samjautha case and sources say that this was done only because of its international ramifications. Moreover, it was also a means of putting pressure on Pakistan to act in the 26/11 case. Activists from Hyderabad and Ajmer however say that they wished the same speed was applied in these two cases as well.
Lateef Mohammad Khan from Hyderabad says that the situation is the same in Ajmer and Hyderabad and there are a lot of people awaiting justice. Only once the NIA files its chargesheet in both these cases will the innocent youth be able to rest in peace. These activists say that the accused persons in all these cases are more or less the same. However they are hoping that the probe will pick up soon as against the present scenario, in which these two cases have almost come to a stand still.
The LeT angle in Samjautha case:
While this is one part of the case the other question that is being asked is the United Nations report relating to the Samjautha case refers to a man called Arif Qasmani. The UN terror list for 2009 shows Qasmani, a close aide of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim, as one of the key plotters of the blasts. He is a resident of Karachi and today facilitates the movement of Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan. It is said that he had raised funds through Dawood to fund this attack.
The Samjautha chargesheet however does not make any mention of this which would mean that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba angle is not being looked into. So far as the UN list goes that would be change once the trial is complete and the information sent across. However what investigators say is that Qasmani continues to be a major threat to India and they have been able to ascertain that he was the major player in the 2006 Mumbai train blasts.
While the NIA's job was never easy thanks to the multiple angles in all these cases, the confession of Swami Aseemanand has helped. However, now he has decided to withdraw the confession stating that it was done under duress. The NIA points out that confessions are never the sole aspect of the chargesheet.
The leads are picked up from the confession and independent investigations are conducted based on those leads. The withdrawal of the confession would not have any impact on the case.
The links and the roles of these persons have been ascertained and now the battle is before court. His confession also covered both the Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blasts and this withdrawal will not have any impact on any of these cases, investigators also pointed out.
Indresh Kumar, not an accused in Samjautha chargesheet:
This was one of the names that did the rounds over the past few months. However, Kumar, a top Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader, has not been shown as an accused in the Samjautha chargesheet.
No doubt that the NIA dug very deep into this particular angle of the case, but the fact was that the material found on him was not convincing enough to name him as an accused in the case.
The investigators, however, point out that this is no indication that a clean chit has been given. It is just that more evidence needs to be brought forward in order to even name him in the case.
Moreover, the case relating to Kumar is not a simple one. Considering the position that he holds any wrong move could have serious political ramifications and hence the NIA would want to tread carefully on this aspect.
Kumar was once questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation and is likely to be questioned by the NIA too. They would also be exploring the alleged rivalry between Colonel Srikant Purohit and Kumar in order to get further leads on this angle of the case.
While it is believed that the Ajmer, Samjautha and Mecca Masjid blasts were carried out by one module and the Malegaon blasts were staged by another, investigators will continue to see if the two are linked. Sunil Joshi, Ramji Kalsanghra and Sandeep Dange are the common links in all these attacks. Swami Aseemanand too had spoken about Kalsanghra and Dange stating that they had bombed Malegaon.
While investigators feel that the big fish have been netted in all these cases, there are many aspects that remain incomplete thanks to the fact that two very crucial operatives are still missing.
Dange and Kalsanghra are very crucial not only to the case but also to bust these modules. They participated in meetings convened by Sadhvi Pragya Singh, an accused in Malegaon and Samjautha blasts, murdered RSS activist Sunil Joshi and also Aseemanand. Moreover, these were not ordinary foot soldiers and had ample information on the functioning of the entire module.
The duo was extremely close to Sunil Joshi (now dead) who is considered to be the mastermind of all these operations. In fact, it was Joshi who wanted the Samjautha Express blasts to be carried out, as he wanted to eliminate the Pakistanis on the train.
Not only will the duo provide information on all the operations and the manner in which the modules have been functioning, but they will also be able to help investigators find more clues on the Joshi murder, which again is suspected to be an inside job.