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The temple priest who could unlock Samjhauta blast mystery

Last updated on: December 19, 2012 11:00 IST

The temple priest who could unlock Samjhauta blast mystery

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Vicky Nanjappa

The recent arrests made by the National Investigation Agency in connection with the Samjhauta Express blast case could see the probe meeting a logical end soon. Vicky Nanjappa reports

The National Investigation Agency seems to be getting closer to cracking the Samjhauta Express blasts case.

Last week, the agency picked up Rajendra Chaudhary, alias Pehalwan, who allegedly planted a bomb in Samjhauta Express in 2007. The NIA is also interrogating him in connection with the Mecca Masjid and Ajmer case as well.

The latest arrest of Ram Lakhan Maharaj alias Dhan Singh is yet another breakthrough for the NIA.

Dhan Singh, a temple priest who according to the NIA is a key conspirator in the Samjhauta blasts case, was a close friend of slain former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh pracharak Sunil Joshi and the suspected bomber who planted the explosives on the bike at Malegaon.

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Dhan Singh, who hails from Hatod in Indore, was first picked by up the Satna police and handed over to the NIA. Singh is said to have been working as a priest in one of the temples there.

Singh does not find a prominent mention in the supplementary chargesheet filed by the NIA. He is just named as one of the conspirators in the Samjhauta blasts case.

The NIA had left his connection to both Sunil Joshi and the Malegaon case open-ended and had said that further probing would be required.

The investigating agencies had always maintained that the Ajmer, Mecca Masjid and Samjhauta Express blasts case were carried out by one module while another team executed the Malegaon blasts.

The NIA believes that the mastermind behind all these blasts was the same. They had split the group into two for logistic purposes.

Dhan Singh could provide us that link. We would also probe him on his links with Sadhvi Pragya Singh, who is an accused along with Colonel Purohit in the Malegaon case, NIA sources told rediff.com.

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The NIA says Singh's arrest could also help crack the Joshi murder case.

Of all the accused in the terror rung whom we have arrested so far, Singh appears to be the one closest to Joshi, sources said, adding that the NIA has been able to ascertain to a large extent that Joshi was murdered by his own accomplices.

The NIA feels that Joshi could have been murdered as could have revealed the bigger names in the network.

The NIA also believes that the two most important accused -- Ramji Kalasangra and Sandeep Dange (both of whom are absconding) had a role to play in all the blasts and in Joshi's murder.

Meanwhile, Chaudhary's interrogation has led to more details on the case which speaks about the planning and the execution of the Samjhauta Express blast.

There was some momentary joy for the NIA when Chaudhary blurted out in the Panchkula court a day back, "Yes I did it, I was angry." However the accused immediately retracted his statement and his lawyer said that he had made the statement under duress.

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Chaudhary was reportedly present in Delhi along with Dhan Singh, Kalsangra and Dange to work out the logistics for the blasts. However Singh was not part of the team which travelled by that ill-fated train and planted the bomb.

Singh, the NIA says, was a low key operative who was involved in the planning and logistic aspects of the attack.

We have leads to indicate that he was part of the Malegaon attack as well. Evidence would suggest that on the instructions of Sunil Joshi he had planted the bomb on the bike at Malegaon. He worked closely with Joshi on this case, NIA sources said.

The NIA says that many accused have confessed before the courts and later withdrawn the statement, but the more important thing is that this time they have very strong evidence on hand.

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