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Mosque blast: RSS man grilled

delhi Updated: Dec 24, 2010 01:16 IST
Rajesh Ahuja

The CBI probe into Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid blast reached the door of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Thursday after a top functionary was questioned.

Indresh Kumar was interrogated by Central Bureau of Investigation sleuths in connection with the May 2007 blast that killed nine persons. He is one of the handful of 'akhil bhartiya adhikaris' (topmost layer of RSS office-bearers).

Kumar's questioning took place after the custodial interrogation of Jatin Chaterjee aka Swami Assemanand, who is alleged to be the brain behind bombings at the Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif, Malegaon and on the Samjhauta Express.

His summons for questioning landed at the RSS headquarters at Jhandewalan here on Tuesday.

A CBI spokesperson said Kumar was questioned about the facts and circumstances relevant to the criminal conspiracy in the Mecca Masjid blast case, his association with other suspects and his meetings with them.

According to sources, Kumar's questioning started with questions about his early life and work with the RSS.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which is facing a shrinking support base, has decided to organise a first-of-its-kind Samajik Samrasta (social cohesion) Kumbh in Madhya Pradesh early next year.

Indresh Kumar was asked about his meeting in a Jaipur guesthouse with Swami Assemanand in 2005.

The meeting was attended by Pryagya Singh Thakur and Sunil Joshi, accused in the Malegaon and Ajmer blasts cases. He was also asked about the conspiracy to bomb the Mecca Masjid.

After his questioning, Kumar told Hindustan Times that he would cooperate with the CBI, if it wants to know the truth.

But he sidestepped the question as to what the truth was.

He alleged that the Congress and some of its leaders were trying to harm both the RSS and his image, which has been exposed through Wikileaks, an obvious reference to the leaked US embassy cable which claimed that Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had said that Hindu extremists were a bigger threat to the country that terror groups like the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

According to the sources, Kumar told the CBI he joined the RSS after completing his mechanical engineering in 1970.

He was 'prant pramukh' (head of state unit) of the RSS in Jammu and Kashmir from 1983 to 1997.

In 2002, he floated the 'Muslim Rashtirya Manch' - a vehicle to join Muslims with the RSS.

He is also a founder of the 'Forum for Integrated National Security', which works in the border areas of the country.

The forum, sources said, studies the conditions of border areas, the level of infiltration and the changing demography due to infiltration.

The Sangh connection