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Mecca Masjid blasts: Why Swami Aseemanand is a prize catch for the CBI

November 19, 2010 16:39 IST

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blasts case, has made a crucial breakthrough when it arrested Swami Aseemanand. The CBI has been on his trail for nearly five months now and had been claiming that he was hiding in a forest in the Dangs where he was undertaking re-conversion among the tribals.

According to sources, Aseemanand will help investigators connect the dots in the Mecca Masjid, Ajmer and Malegaon blasts case.

Originally known as Jatin Chatterjee, the godman hails from Hoogly district in West Bengal. A post graduate in Botany, he joined the Ramkrishna Mission. He however was disillusioned with the Left rule in Bengal and decided to leave the state.

He went to the Dangs in 2001 and took up the issue of conversions in tribal areas. He started re-converting people and CBI sources had told earlier that he was upset about the numerous terror strikes being carried out in India by Pakistan-based elements. He also used to run an ashram called the Shabaridham Ashram in the Dangs and has a long list of followers, many of whom have been quizzed by the CBI.

His name first cropped up when the Mumbai Anti Terrorism Squad arrested Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in 2009 in connection with the Malegaon blasts. The CBI alleges he had met with Sadhvi on various occasions and had discussed terrorism in the country. The investigators also managed to get hold of telephonic conversations between the two in which they are alleged to be speaking about retaliatory strikes. He used his driver, Sunil Dhwade's mobile phone to make these calls.

The CBI claimed that he was an important person to have in their net since he was a crucial link in all the above mentioned cases. They said that in every angle that they had investigated the case, his name had cropped up. They claimed that he was in the know of things when both the Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blasts were being planned.

The CBI says that he is a powerful speaker and was an inspiration to most of these people involved in these cases. He is also believed to be a father figure to Chandrashekhar and Davendra, who are accused in the Ajmer, Mecca Masjid and also the Goa blasts case. It was during the interrogation of these two persons that the CBI got to know that he was hiding in Gujarat. In addition to this the CBI also believes that he may have used funds of his ashram to finance the attacks.

A major chunk of the CBI's case is based on the telephonic conversations he had with the Sadhvi and also the interrogation of Davendra and Chandrashekhar. The extent he had gone up to support the cause of these people is something that further interrogation will tell. During the interrogation the CBI is going to find out his links with the likes of the Sadhvi and also Colonel Purohith who are alleged to have played major roles in the Malegaon case. The CBI however refused to elaborate further on what their line of investigation with this arrest would be.

Vicky Nanjappa