The confessions made by two accused in the September 29 Malegaon blast case were opened in the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Wednesday.
“Lt Col (Prasad) Purohit had entrusted one Captain Joshi with the task of killing two top Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders, Indresh Kumar and Subedhar Singh, as both of them, Kumar and Singh, used to receive money from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI),” said the confession of accused Dayanand Pandey, a godman from Uttar Pradesh active in Jammu.
A confession before the police is admissible evidence under MCOCA, and it is for this reason that confessions are placed before the special court before the beginning of the trial.
On November 21, Hindustan Times had reported that members of Hindu organisation Abhinav Bharat, suspected to be heavily involved in the Malegoan blast, had also plotted to kill senior RSS leaders because they thought they were not doing enough for Hindutva.
The plot to eliminate RSS leaders like Kumar and Singh that was hatched by members of the Abhinav Bharat was also corroborated by two
The statements of the two, whose identity cannot be revealed, were also opened
in the MCOCA court. The statements had been recorded before a magistrate and sealed earlier.
The witnesses used to work closely with Lt Col Purohit.
One of them said the lieutenant colonel had information that Kumar and Singh had received at least Rs 21 crore from the ISI, while the other said Lt Col Purohit had disclosed to him plans to kill RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat in Pune.
In his confession, Pandey said in one of the Abhinav Bharat meetings, Purohit agreed to arrange for explosives and another accused, Sukhakar Chaturvedi, agreed to store these.
Pandey also said that in the meeting, attended by Chaturvedi and accused Major Ramesh Updayaya, it was discussed that something had to be done during the Urs at Panipat since cows in great numbers are slaughtered there.
Pandey also said that Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, another accused, told him: “I have been asking (Lt Col) Purohit to arrange for explosives for the safeguard of Hindus but he is not taking me seriously. Is he going to arrange for explosives after all the Hindus are killed?”
The godman said after that it was he who asked Purohit to arrange explosives.
The confessional statement of another key accused, Rakesh Dhawade, said Lt Col Purohit had told him that two of Thakur’s men, Ramji and Sandeep Dange, had asked him to supply the RDX but he had expressed his inability to do so. The confession said later Lt Col Purohit called him and said he had arranged for the RDX and that was used in the blast.
Both Pandey and Dhawade have subsequently retracted their confessions before a magistrate, saying their signature was obtained on typed papers.
“A retraction notwithstanding, a confession is still admissible evidence in MCOCA if the proper corroborative evidence is produced in court,” Special Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian said.