Indicating another link between the accused in the 2002 Gujarat riots and the Hindu terror plot, the NIA has arrested Bhavesh Patel, a native of Bharuch and an accused in the Dargah Ajmer Sharif blast of 2007.
“Bhavesh was arrested in Delhi. He had tonsured his head and was staying in temples in various locations for the last two years to evade arrest. He had visited Allahabad to take a dip during the Kumbh. His movements were under surveillance for the last one month,” an investigator said.
Before Bhavesh, another 2002 Gujarat riots accused Harshad Solanki alias Raj was arrested in the Ajmer blast case in 2010. Solanki was accused of burning down the Best Bakery of Vadodara in which 14 people were killed.
Besides Solanki, three other absconding accused in the case -- Mehul, Jayanti and Mohan -- are also wanted in the Ajmer Sharif blast.
The four accused were in hiding with Sunil Joshi, the leader of right-wing extremists alleged to be involved in a series of blasts in Malegaon, Samjhauta train, Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Sharif.
Later, Joshi was murdered by his own men in December 2007.
“Bhavesh was accused of throwing pipe bombs on a mosque in Bharuch of Gujarat a day after the Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002. A trial court acquitted him in the case.
"The NIA investigators are trying to gather more information about the status of the cases against him in Gujarat,” said a source.
Investigators said, Bhavesh was an active member of local Hindutva brigade in Bharuch and was considered very aggressive and ambitious.
His questioning will help the NIA in unraveling involvement of other right-wing extremists from Gujarat in blast cases.