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RSS man linked to bomb-making camp again

A senior leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), Dr Sharad Kunte, is believed to be under the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) scanner a second time.

india Updated: Dec 24, 2008 00:04 IST
Satyajit Joshi

A senior leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), Dr Sharad Kunte, is believed to be under the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) scanner a second time.

A statement by a Malegaon blast accused, Rakesh Dhawde, mentioning Dr Kunte was the reason for the rekindling of interest in him, ATS sources said.

Dhawde, also an accused in bomb blast cases in Jalna and Parbhani in 2003, gave the statement before the police in Jalna.

He said Dr Kunte was one of those who had organised a bomb-making camp at a resort called Aakanksha at the foot of Sinhgad, a fort near Pune, in 2003.

The RSS leader on Tuesday said he was aware of a statement made by Dhawde before a court in Jalna, which he submitted on November 22 while in ATS custody. “When he (Dhawde) was granted magisterial custody, he (Dhawde) made it clear before the court that the earlier statement was given under ATS pressure,” Dr Kunte said.

He added that he had not been contacted by the ATS after Dhawde’s statement before the police in Jalna.

Dr Kunte was the first RSS leader to be questioned by the ATS in connection with the September 29 Malegaon bomb blast that killed six people.

He was questioned by the Pune unit of the ATS on November 3.

Requesting anonymity because of a bar on speaking to the media, Pune ATS sources said Dhawde’s statement showed he had provided pipe-bomb material and Dr Kunte had paid for it.

The blast cases in Jalna and Parbhani towns in Marathwada were reopened by the ATS after the Malegaon bomb blast, in which police suspect the hand of Hindu organisations.

A professor in a prominent college in Pune, Dr Kunte was the executive president of the state unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad till a few years ago.