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Abhinav Bharat chief knew about Malegaon conspiracy

January 22, 2009 00:44 IST

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Himani Savarkar, President of right-wing group Abhinav Bharat and a kin of freedom fighter Veer Savarkar, was aware of the conspiracy hatched to carry out "activities" in Muslim-dominated Malegaon to avenge "atrocities" against Hindus but she kept mum, police sources said.

She has admitted this in a statement given to Pune unit of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, which probed the September 29 blast in the communally-sensitive power loom town, the sources said.

Himani, married to nephew of freedom fighter Veer Savarkar, had attended a meeting in April 2008 in Indore where Lt Col Prasad Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya [Images] Singh Thakur, Dayanand Pandey, Sudhakar Chaturvedi and retired army officer Ramesh Upadhyay, all accused in the blast, were also present, they said.

According to Himani's statement, in the meeting Purohit had said that Malegaon is a Muslim-dominated town and some "activities" can be carried out there to avenge the "atrocities" committed against Hindus.

"Sadhvi had then said she can arrange for men who will carry out such activities," said the sources.

There was another meeting in June-July 2008 in Jabalpur, which was again attended by these accused, she said.

Himani, who is also the niece of Nathuram Godse, had taken over as Abhinav Bharat President in April 2008 after she was approached by Sameer Kulkarni (also an accused in Malegaon blast case) who had formed the group in Madhya Pradesh [Images] along with a friend.

"The Malegaon blast has not been carried out by Abhinav Bharat or its members. Kulkarni, Upadhyay and Chaturvedi are innocent. The others who have been arrested may also not be involved in the blast," the statement said.

Himani said she was not aware if any of the members had collected funds or donations in the name of Abhinav Bharat, which has been linked to the blast that killed six persons and injured over 70.

"The aims and objectives of the group include an undivided India, fundamental changes in the education system and that all persons living in the country are 'Hindustani' irrespective of their religions," Himani said.

Himani said she knew Kulkarni for one and half years as a full time worker of RSS. "Kulkarni used to frequent my house (in Pune) because of my links with the Savarkar family."

"I had agreed to take over as the President of Abhinav Bharat as the group was involved in social activities and had no political forum," she said.

The ATS had on Tuesday filed a 4,300-page chargesheet in a special court against 14 accused -- 11 of them arrested -- in the Malegaon blast case. Among those chargesheeted are Sadhvi Pragya, Purohit and Pandey.

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