The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested two alleged Samjhauta bombers - Rajendra Pehelwan alias Samandar and Lokesh Sharma – for murdering their one time mentor and former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak Sunil Joshi.
Joshi was the leader of the group's right wing extremists that carried out bomb blasts in Malegaon, Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Dargah Ajmer Sharif between 2006 and 2007.
HT had reported on December 24 about Samandar’s involvement in the Joshi murder case.
Joshi was murdered on December 29, 2007 in Dewas, allegedly by Samandar and Lokesh Sharma, say investigators.
“Samandar shot him and Lokesh was with him on a bike. Both were carrying pistols. We have recovered two pistols from the residence of Dilip Jagtap, who is another arrested accused in the Joshi murder case. In all likelihood, the pistols recovered from Jagtap’s house were used in Joshi’s murder. We are awaiting expert’s report on the issue. Besides, we have arrested one Balveer also who gave shelter to Samandar and Lokesh after Joshi’s murder,” said a senior NIA official.
The NIA also questioned Lokesh’s brother Jitendra in connection with Joshi’s murder. So far he as not been arrested but he is also under the agency’s scanner.
Investigators are now focusing on the motive behind the murder which is still very hazy.
“Before Joshi’s murder Lokesh and Sunil Joshi were seen arguing with each other. It is alleged that Joshi also misbehaved with Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon bombing of 2008. There was financial dispute between Joshi and his followers. And he was also planning to surrender also. All these motives have come forward in the probe so far. But nothing can be said with finality about the motive at the moment. Investigators are working on that,” said the official.