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Karkare was under pressure to nail RSS: Bhagwat

delhi Updated: Feb 29, 2012 09:23 IST
Shekhar Iyer Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times
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Five days before he was killed in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the then Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare had told Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat that he was under tremendous pressure to “nail” Sangh activists in unsolved blast cases. This is what Bhagwat has claimed.

Bhagwat said Karkare, who was known to him for many years, did not elaborate. “But he made it clear that he was under pressure to implicate right-wing outfits,” said Bhagwat.

According to him, Karkare met him to seek the RSS’ “cooperation” in the investigations into the blasts in Malegaon (2006 and 2008), on the Samjhauta Express (2007), and in Ajmer Sharif and Mecca Masjid (2007).

Bhagwat’s assertion has come in the context of the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) first arresting Swami Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Devender Gupta and a few others in connection with these cases and now producing “disgruntled” RSS activist Kamal Chauhan, who “confessed” he planted bombs on the Samjhauta Express.

“Our apprehension is that, right from the beginning, there has been a political angle to the charge that RSS people are behind this,” he said. Other RSS leaders feel the arrests might have to do with the Congress’ bid to show to minorities during the UP elections that it was acting “even handed” by taking action against Hindu groups.

“I told Karkare that the Sangh would not stand in the way of a proper investigation to book all those behind these acts of violence. But I do not think our people are involved, as the RSS is against violence. We have condemned these blasts in strong terms, and the RSS won’t support anyone indulging in such violence,” Bhagwat said.

Some time ago, top RSS leaders had expressed apprehension to senior BJP leaders that the UPA government and Congress leaders were “out to fix the Sangh in these cases”. It was decided that the matter had to be fought in court.