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Cops thanked army officer for help

Suspended Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, was providing the police with information about Islamic fundamentalists while he was allegedly involved in activities of the right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, suggest letters written by senior police officers, copies of which are with HT.

mumbai Updated: Dec 20, 2011 00:58 IST
Rahul Mahajani

Suspended Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, was providing the police with information about Islamic fundamentalists while he was allegedly involved in activities of the right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, suggest letters written by senior police officers, copies of which are with HT.

The letters - by Himanshu Roy, then Nashik police commissioner, and KP Raghuvanshi, then Anti-Terrorism Squad chief - were written in 2005 and 2006, and suggest that the police appreciated his help.

As reported earlier, Purohit, a military intelligence officer, had conducted workshops for the Maharashtra police. The letters suggest that the army officer was also sharing sensitive information about Islamic fundamentalists that was aiding investigations.

In a letter to Purohit dated November 13, 2006, Roy said: “You have shared information of vital and sensitive nature with the police, which has proved to be useful. Your educative workshop on Islam, SIMI and ISI, conducted on November 11, was also of great help to our organisation.”

Roy, who is now joint commissioner of police, Mumbai crime branch, told HT: “There are many vital military installations in Nashik and in my capacity as police commissioner, I interacted with military officials. It’s a professional letter regarding a specific workshop and more should not be read into it.”

Similarly, Raghuvanshi had written a letter to Purohit’s senior, Lieutenant Colonel SS Raikar, on September 5, 2005, appreciating Purohit, who was then a Major. “My officers have immensely benefited from this interaction and hope that in the future we continue to benefit from the experience, knowledge and expertise of army officers like you and Major Purohit,” the letter stated.

Raghuvanshi, now the police commissioner of Thane, said: “If there had been any doubts about Purohit, we would never have called him.”

The ATS had held the banned outfit, Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), responsible for the first Malegaon blast in 2006 and had made several arrests. Suspicion that Abhinav Bharat may have been involved in the 2006 blast as well arose last December after Swami Aseemanand, who has links with the group and was arrested for the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast, said in his confession that a right-wing group had been behind the 2006 blast.

Following this statement, the case was transferred to the National Investigation Agency, which recently did not oppose the bail plea of the nine SIMI activists arrested for their alleged involvement in the blast. Purohit provided information to the police for more than two years after the first Malegaon blast. His name cropped up only after the second blast, which took place on September 29, 2008, and he was arrested in November 2008.