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Top VHP leader under scanner

india Updated: Dec 27, 2008 01:14 IST
Satyajit Joshi
Satyajit Joshi
Hindustan Times
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The Pune police have started gathering information about a top Delhi-based leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) — whose name has been withheld. Also under scrutiny are his visits to Pune over the past five years.

“We wanted to know whether the VHP leader has any connection with Malegaon and other bomb blasts in Maharashtra,” said an investigating officer.

KP Raghuvanshi, currently in charge of state Anti-Terrorist Squad, said: “We are investigating all the cases. We can comment only after investigation are completed.”

Several intelligence agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau, Special Branch, ATS and Criminal Investigation Department, are involved in the effort that began about a week ago.

These agencies have been asked to gather information on the leader’s visits to Pune since 2003, when a training programme was allegedly held for Hindu fundamentalists near Sinhgad fort, on the city's outskirts. Participants in the programme allegedly learnt how to make bombs.

An internal party circular mentions the name of the VHP leader along with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activist Sharad Kunte, who had earlier functioned as executive president of the VHP’s state unit.

ATS had questioned Kunte in the first week of November in connection with the Malegaon blast case.

Four prime accused in the Malegaon blast case — Lt. Col. S.P. Purohit, Sameer Kulkarni, retired army officer Ramesh Upadhyaya and Rakesh Dhawde — hail from Pune. Two Pune residents — senior RSS activist Shyamrao Apte and Kunte — have also figured in the investigation.