Malegaon suspects to be quizzed on Guj blast | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Malegaon suspects to be quizzed on Guj blast

The National Investigation Agency suspects that two apparently unconnected bomb blasts that took place two years ago, in Maharashtra’s Malegaon and Gujarat’s Modasa, might have been the handiwork of the same right-wing Hindu network.

mumbai Updated: Aug 13, 2010 01:17 IST
Urvi Mahajani

The National Investigation Agency suspects that two apparently unconnected bomb blasts that took place two years ago, in Maharashtra’s Malegaon and Gujarat’s Modasa, might have been the handiwork of the same right-wing Hindu network.

As a result, the Agency, which the central government set up in 2008 to combat terror, is likely to soon question those accused in the Malegaon case about the Modasa blasts, both of which struck on September 29, 2008.

It obtained the necessary permission last week from the special court trying the Malegaon accused, after filing an application in which it argued that examining the accused in this case was crucial for identifying those involved in the Modasa explosion. The Malegaon accused are being tried under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act or MCOCA.

“Some fresh leads have emerged,” said an officer from the Agency who is involved in the investigation, on condition of anonymity. “It is not a co-incidence that the two blasts happened on the same day.”

The investigations revealed that similar motorcycles were used in both blasts. But besides this, nothing has emerged to link the blasts more directly.

The Malegaon blasts killed eight people and injured more than 80, while one person died in the Modasa explosion.

Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad has arrested 11 people so far in connection with the Malegaon blasts, including Sadhvi Pragyasingh Thakur, Dayanand Pande and Prasad Purohit, a suspended lieutenant colonel, all three of who belonged to Abhinav Bharat, a right-wing Hindu group. Purohit began this group 2007 to “propagate a separate Hindu Rashtra with its own Constitution,” according to the charge sheet that the police filed.

The Gujarat police have not arrested any one so far in connection with the Modasa blast. Because the central government felt the Gujarat police had made no headway on the Modasa case, it transferred it to the National Investigation Agency last month.

But now the Agency has more data. The “fresh leads” that it is following have come from three sources, the official said.

The first came from the Agency’s examination this month of three laptops that belonged to Pande, the second from its questioning of a few of Thaukur’s and Pande’s Uttar Pradesh-based associates.

It also gleaned details about how Purohit’s group functioned from the MahaMalegaon suspects to be quizzed on Guj blast.