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Sunil Joshi murder case: The key to RSS-terror link?

By Vicky Nanjappa
January 23, 2013 16:31 IST
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A new theory has emerged surrounding the death of former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh man Sunil Joshi -- he was murdered over a business tussle. Vicky Nanjappa reports.  

In the backdrop of Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde accusing the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of running terror camps in the country, the probe into the death of Sunil Joshi gains importance. Joshi, who allegedly masterminded the Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blasts involving Hindu radicals, was found murdered in Dewas in 2007.

Six years on, the investigators have not been able to crack the case and innumerable theories have emerged surrounding Joshi’s death.      

The latest one, which is being explored by the National Investigation Agency, is a possible business tussle. According to NIA officials, Joshi had stake in a liquor shop in Indore with Lokesh Sharma, who is currently under arrest for his role in the Samjautha Express blasts.

During the interrogation of Sharma and others, it has come to light that there were differences between them over profit sharing. This was one of the reasons why Joshi was killed, investigators said.

However, the NIA has not been able to ascertain whether it was Sharma who killed Joshi and are still probing this angle.  

When Joshi was killed investigators suspected the involvement of the banned the Students Islamic Movement of India.

Following the murder, the Malegaon blasts took place in 2008. After the arrest of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Colonel Srikant Purohit, the investigators said that the attack was carried out to avenge the death of Joshi at the hands of the SIMI.    

In Apirl 2011, the NIA took over the probe and the first lead into the death of Joshi suggested that he had become extremely arrogant and felt that his associates were not doing enough to protect him. It was stated that he had threatened to reveal details of their activities and this prompted them to kill him. The other angle that was being probed was that he had misbehaved with Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and this angered the group. 

NIA sources say that there is no doubt that Joshi was an important man in the terror rung and he controlled most operations. He played a large role in the Samjautha Express blasts.

Joshi was an RSS pracharak from Madhya Pradesh. However, the Sangh denies his association with them and states that he had moved out and then took part in subversive activities.

Joshi’s murder investigation is of utmost importance for the NIA. The exact cause of his death will determine if the RSS had any role to play in terror attacks or not, said investigators.

“We have ascertained the various aspects relating to Joshi’s death and the number of people he had been in contact with. After his death, a lot of the proof had been wiped out. Some key files and data had gone missing from his house,” said an NIA officer.   

“Now, with the help of the arrested accused we are trying to get more information relating to his death. We have seized a revolver from the residence of of one Jitender Patel and the initial indication is that this was used to murder Joshi. The weapon has been sent to the forensic laboratory for examination and we are awaiting the report,” he added.

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Vicky Nanjappa