The Nashik police and the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) have virtually cracked the case involving multiple blasts at textile city Malegaon's Hamidiya mosque-Bada Kabrastan and Mushawarat chowk on September 8 with the arrest on Monday of an alleged member of the banned SIMI who was one of the planters used in the terror attack.
The blasts had killed 31 and injured more than 100 on the eve of the Muslim festival Shab-e-barat.
Blasts investigators from the Nashik police and the ATS have pointed out the probable role of Pakistan's ISI in orchestrating the blasts.
They point out that a man named Shabbir Batterywalla, a local prominent SIMI leader, who is in police custody currently under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) is the alleged mastermind and had visited Pakistan in 2004 to receive training at a jehadi training camp that was directly controlled by the ISI. The camp was located close to Karachi.
The accused, Noorulhodha Samsudoha, said DGP PS Pasricha, has been remanded to police custody till November 3. "The planter of the Malegaon blasts is Noorul," said Pasricha, adding that the arrest of Batterywalla by Mumbai Crime Branch in August had led police to his employee, Noorul Hooda.
"Hooda is a SIMI activist and was already under arrest since October 8 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for his role in the planting of a hoax bomb in a shopping complex in Malegaon on September 13. Today, he was arrested for his complicity in the Malegaon blasts conspiracy," Pasricha said.
"The two other suspects that have been identified, Shabbir Batterywala and Raees Ahmed, are in custody under UAPA and their transfer in the Malegaon blasts case would be sought soon," Pasricha said.
According to investigators, Noorul Hooda confessed during his interrogations that "Batterywalla had started plotting the terror attack since February and by May the plan had been finalised by him. The bomb devices were made as well, but the July 11 blasts made him postpone it since he was himself arrested by Mumbai Crime Branch a month later in connection with the case". Noorul also admitted to having "planted the bomb at Bada Kabrastan that caused the largest number of deaths".
Investigators revealed that a witness had identified "Noorul" as a 'planter'. Later, forensic results also linked him, Batterywalla and Raees to the blasts.
"The RDX and the soil that was used to make a fake bomb on Septermber 13 matched exactly with one of the many samples of RDX-mixed soil that was taken from Batterywalla‘s garage," said a senior investigator.