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Malegaon probe: ATS arrests 'godman' from Kanpur

November 12, 2008 16:25 IST
Last Updated: November 12, 2008 19:27 IST

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Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad on Wednesday picked up a seer, head of the Sharda Sarvagya Peeth in Jammu, from Kanpur for questioning in connection with the Malegaon blast case.

"The person is identified as Dayanand Pandey alias Amritanand, who hails from Uttar Pradesh [Images] and was residing in Ravatpur village in Kanpur," UP Additional Director General, Law and Order Brijlal told media persons in Lucknow.

Pandey, who heads Sharda Sarvagya Peeth in Jammu and resides in Trikuta Nagar there, was picked up at around 2.30 pm without 'any resistance or law and order problem' from

Ravatpur area where he was living for past three to four days, he said.

The suspect was rounded up after a two-member team of ATS led by ACP Mohan Kulkarni arrived in Kanpur late Tuesday night armed with a Nashik court order, which charged Pandey under various sections Explosives Act and IPC including for murder and attempt to murder for the Malegaon blast.

The ATS has so far arrested nine people including Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, former army officer Ramesh Upadhyay and Abhinav Bharat member Sameer Kulkarni in the Malegaon blast case.

"Pandey is being brought to Lucknow for inquiry by ATS Maharastra. If they want to arrest the accused they will produce him in the court and take him on transit remand," Brijlal said.

In the court's order, Pandey is accused under Sections 16,18 and 23 of Prevention of Unlawful activities Act, Section 345 of  Explosives act and sections 302, 307, 326, 324, 427, 153 A/ 120 B of IPC, he said.

Asked whether the person who gave shelter to Pandey had been questioned, Brijlal said that he could not divulge further details.

If the ATS needs to take Pandey to Mumbai, it will have to produce him before a UP court and secure a transit remand.

As word spread that Pandey reportedly had close connections with the Bajrang Dal, the outfit promptly denied it. Bajrang Dal national convenor Prakash Sharma said Pandey had 'no links' with his organisation.

"I am not even aware of this person. I don't know who he is. He is not a member of Bajrang Dal," Sharma said when contacted.

Investigators are already looking into the possibility of Purohit and others arrested in the Malegaon blast being involved in certain cases like the 2004 Jalna blast and 2006 Nanded blast in Maharashtra, ATS sources said.

The Aurangabad ATS has taken custody of Rakesh Dhawade, one among the nine arrested so far in the Malegaon case, to probe his alleged involvement in the Jalna and Nanded blasts.

The ATS is to question a man arrested in Maharashtra for his alleged involvement with right wing group Abhinav Bharat, the sources said.

Police has also taken court permission for conducting brain mapping, polygraph and narco-analysis tests on Sudhakar Chaturvedi, a suspected activist of Abhinav Bharat, to ascertain whether he had any links with Purohit or any of the other accused.

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