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General stores to raise funds?

india Updated: Jan 23, 2009 00:30 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
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The Malegaon blast accused had thought of a unique way to raise funds — establish a chain of general stores and a security guard agency. Witnesses quoted in the chargesheet said the two companies were to serve as front organisations to raise money as well provide safe hiding spots for operatives of Abhinav Bharat, the right-wing Hindu organisation the accused were part of.

“Lt-Col Prasad Purohit (a serving officer arrested in the case) suggested that the security agency be called ‘Bastion Guards’, thinking that a western name would not be linked to a radical Hindu body,” said the chargesheet.

The security agency, said the chargesheet, was also meant to provide “certified arms training” to their cadres. “Purohit, said two military schools in Maharashtra — Bhonsla Military School and Maharashtra Military School — would help.”

“I had my men appointed to key positions in both schools; they will do everything I ask of them,” Purohit told a meeting of fellow conspirators. An audio recording of the meeting was found on the laptop of another accused, self-styled godman Dayanand Pandey.

The 4,528-page chargesheet filed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad said Abhinav Bharat, to which Purohit belonged, hoped to establish a Hindu state that stretched from parts of Afghanistan in the west to Burma in the east.

They also tried to establish links with radicals in countries like Nepal, Thailand and Israel, said a serving army officer, a key witness. Purohit disclosed at a meeting last April that he hoped to form a “government in exile” with help from Israeli and Thai associates, said the witness.

Abhinav Bharat also seems to have taken tips from Islamic terrorists, revealed the chargesheet.