The ATS investigations could take a new turn with the probe authorities looking at the possibility of the involvement of those arrested in the Malegaon blast case in other terror attacks like the 2004 blasts in the Marathwada region.
The role of Lt Col Prasad S Purohit, arrested in the
Malegaon case for his role in the conspiracy, is already being probed in the 2006 Nanded blast in which four suspected Bajrang Dal activists were killed while assembling a bomb.
The 2004 blasts at the Parbhani, Jalna and Purna towns in Marathwada region were carried out near mosques and police fear that those involved in the Nanded blast could have had a role in the conspiracy to carry out the attacks.
The CBI has filed its chargesheet against ten persons for their involvement in the Nanded blast, but the agency has been interacting with the ATS over the Malegaon arrests and the possibility of links between the two cases.
Officials had said interrogation of some accused has shown that 54 people were given training in handling of arms and explosives at Bhonsala Military School in 2001.
Some of them are believed to be involved in the blasts at Malegaon in 2006 and 2008 as well as the Nanded blast.
Six persons were killed when a motorcycle bomb exploded in Malegaon on September 29. Nine persons, including a sadhvi and former army official, have been arrested so far for their involvement in the case.
The role of Purohit, who was in the Military Intelligence, in the Nanded blast is still being probed with one of the prime accused still at large.
According to an accused in the Nanded case, one person identified as Mithun Chakravarthy had provided them with training on how to make bombs.
A witness in the Nanded case had also said that during a camp organised by the Bajrang Dal in the year 2000, he had seen two senior retired Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers and two former defence personnel providing training in firing guns.
In the Malegaon probe, a team from the ATS visited the Shabridham ashram in Bardoli which is run by one Swami Ashimanand last week and questioned some of its members, officials there said.
The ATS is also considering the possibility of charging the nine arrested accused in the Malegaon case under sections of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
The nine are presently charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for murder and conspiracy, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Indian Explosives Act.
Five of the arrested accused will be produced before a Nashik court.