Manohar Singh, a member of a right-wing Hindu outfit arrested in connection with the 2006 Malegaon blast, has confessed his involvement in it and given details about the others involved, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has said.
The NIA has alleged that Singh was among those who planted the bomb near Hamidia Mosque in the powerloom town in Nashik district, about 200 km from Mumbai, on September 8, 2006, killing 37 people and injuring 100 others.
Singh, who was arrested on Saturday by the NIA from Hathod in Indore, was produced before a city holiday court on Sunday. The court has remanded him in NIA’s custody till January 8.
While seeking Singh’s custody, special public prosecutor Rohini Salian told the court he confessed that he had been aware of the entire plot and that he was one of the planters. “We need to interrogate Singh as he knows the whereabouts of other accused. For this his custodial interrogation is necessary,” Salian said.
NIA sources said Singh is an important catch.
Singh was arrested after Rajender Chaudhary, an accused in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast, revealed his involvement. Chaudhary is likely to be produced before a Mumbai court next week.
The 2006 Malegaon blast has seen a lot of unexpected twists. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested nine accused and blamed the Lashker-e-Toiba and banned outfit, Students Islamic Movement of India, for the blast in their charge sheet. Later, the investigation was handed over to the CBI. The probe was then transferred to the NIA.
After preliminary investigation, the NIA said a right-wing Hindu outfit was behind the blast and not those arrested by the ATS. Though the NIA is yet to discharge the nine accused from the case, they were released on bail after the NIA’s claim in 2011.
A Hindu outfit is also allegedly behind the 2008 Malegaon blast, which claimed six lives. Twelve persons, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and former Lt Col Srikant Purohit, have been arrested in the case.