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Aseemanand’s custody extended; one more held

india Updated: Feb 06, 2011 00:28 IST
HT Correspondent

A local court on Saturday extended the custody of Swami Aseemanand, key suspect in a number of terror attacks over the past five years, by seven days till February 11.

The Rajasthan Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) took custody of Aseemanand last month in connection with the 2007 Ajmer dargah blast, after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested him in November last year for his alleged role in the 2007 Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast. He is also named in the 2006 Malegaon blast and the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast cases.

Following the arrest, the court had sent him to police custody till February 5.

A chief judicial magistrate on Saturday extended Aseemanand’s custody along with that of Bharatbhai from Valsad, Gujarat, who was arrested on Friday. Bharatbhai had been named by the ATS as a key witness in the dargah blast.

“Bharatbhai’s arrest had taken place after Aseemanand’s confession, in which he said Bharatbhai was with the late Sunil Joshi (an RSS activist named as the dargah blast mastermind by the ATS) in all the meetings for planning the blast and had given funds for the blast,” said Umardan Lakhawat, advocate for the accused in the dargah blast case.

A CBI team is also camping in Ajmer to question two people accused in the dargah blast case in connection with the Malegaon blast. They are accompanied by a police team from Mumbai.

On Friday, the CBI applied at the Ajmer sessions court for permission to interrogate Devendra Gupta and Lokesh Sharma, producing Aseemanand’s statements and a copy of the first information report (FIR).

Sessions court judge Prashant Kumar Agarwal fixed February 8 as the date of hearing.