The ATS had arrested nine suspects - Salman Farsi, Shabir Ahmed, Noorulhuda, Rais Ahmed, Mohammed Ali, Asif Khan, Javed Sheikh, Faroogue Ansari and Abrar Ahmed- in the case. Later, the case was handed over the CBI which approved the ATS probe.
But Aseemanand's confession to a magistrate in 2010 was the first indication that the Malegaon blasts were the handiwork of the right wing extremists. The case was handed over to the NIA for further probe. After verifying the contents of Aseemanand's statement, the NIA allowed the release of nine accused on bail.
According to sources, the NIA got a breakthrough after the alleged Samjhauta bomber Rajendra Pehelwan confessed to planting bomb in Malgaon as well on September 8, 2006. He also named Dhan Singh, Amit alias Ashwini Chauhan as fellow bombers.
Interestingly, two of the earlier Malegaon accused -Mohammad Ali and Asif Khan - are charged with the July 7, 2006 Mumbai serial train blasts. Both have repeatedly claimed that the ATS wanted them to become approvers in the case but after their refusal to do so, it charged them in the Malegaon blasts that took place two months after the train blasts.