Members of Hindu right-wing organisation Abhinav Bharat, accused of carrying out the Malegaon blast, plotted to kill senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders who they thought weren’t doing enough for Hindutva, show investigation reports accessed exclusively by Hindustan Times.
At a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party has declared its support for the accused, who are being investigated by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), the probe report reveals a plan to kill RSS general secretary Mohan Bhagwat and senior leader Indraeesh, who manages the Rashtriya Muslim Manch, which attracts Muslims with a “nationalistic outlook”. The report is with the state Home Department, which has shared it with the Union Home Ministry and central intelligence agencies.
Data found on the laptop of Dayanand Pandey, alias Shankaracharya Sudhakar Dwivedi, who was arrested in Lucknow on November 12, verifies the report. Experts at the Forensic Science Laboratory in Kalina are examining the laptop.
The planned killings, the report said, were masterminded by S. Apte, a 70-year-old Pune-based RSS worker who was unhappy with the organisation’s functioning, along with Pandey, Major (retd) Ramesh Upadhyay and a leading Delhi-based doctor identified only as ‘Dr Singh’.
The ATS found that Apte and Pandey, the son of a retired sub-inspector of the Uttar Pradesh police, approached Lieutenant-Colonel Prasad Purohit for help in executing the plan. Apte also paid him Rs 10 lakh, said the report.
Purohit introduced a close aide, whose identity HT has withheld so as not to hinder investigations, to Apte to assist him.
In August, when the group learnt that Bhagwat and Indraeesh would be visiting Pune, “Apte showed [Purohit’s aide] around the various spots [suitable for the killings] in Pune” and they zeroed in on a couple.
Investigations also showed that “[Pandey] had arranged for a weapon”, a 9 mm foreign-made pistol, which was delivered to one of his followers “in Faridabad” when he and Apte first hatched the plot.
The ATS is investigating Apte, who is currently in Pune.