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Malegaon probe: Colonel, Major may be grilled

November 07, 2008 21:06 IST

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A Colonel posted in Deolali and a Major may face interrogation in connection with the probe into the Malegaon blasts as concerns over more officers coming under the scanner have rattled the armed forces.

Lt Col's terror link a matter of concern: Antony

As Mumbai's Anti-Terrorism Force sought permission from the Defence Ministry to question more army personnel, there were reports that a retired Lt.General and a couple of serving Colonels could also be involved.

A Lt. Colonel in Madhya Pradesh [Images] was reportedly picked up for questioning but there was no official word on it. More arrests are not ruled out.

Coverage: Terror Strikes Malegaon

Government's worries were voiced by Defence Minister A K Antony  who said the alleged involvement of serving Lieutenant Colonel S P Purohit in the Malegaon blasts was a matter of serious concern.

Necessary action will be taken against him by the Defence Ministry on the basis of the Maharashtra police's investigation report in the case.

Evading a direct reply on the involvement of more serving officers, including one holding a senior rank, Antony said the army was fully assisting the investigation 'without any hesitation' and so was the Defence Ministry.

"On the part of the Army, without any hesitation, they are fully assisting and cooperating with the investigating agencies. We are waiting for a report from the Maharashtra police and I can tell you, we are taking it seriously," he added.

"We are awaiting the (Maharashtra police) report (in the case). We will take all necessary action on the basis of the report," Antony said, when asked to react on the involvement of a serving Military Intelligence officer in the blast.

Pointing out that the Maharashtra police and the Intelligence Bureau were investigating the whole issue, he said the inquiry by the agencies outside the MOD was going on.

Police and central security agencies are also trying to trace the links of two of the persons arrested in connection with the Malegaon blasts to Jammu and Kashmir [Images] amidst suspicion that the RDX used in the Maharashtra town could have been smuggled from the militancy-hit state.

A senior official of ATS apprised the Army on Friday afternoon over the missing laptop of Purohit and sought their cooperation in locating it, official sources said.

They said Purohit's laptop, which could throw light on blast, has gone missing after he was shifted to Mumbai to assist the ATS in investigations from his place of posting Panchmari in Madhya Pradesh.

They suspect Purohit, after being posted in Military Intelligence, used his contacts built during his tenure in Jammu and Kashmir where he was stationed with the 41 Rashtriya Rifles.

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