The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has identified and arrested the third alleged bomber, who belongs to a group of right wing extremists, in the Malegaon blasts of September 2006. It will eventually pave way for the final acquittal of nine Muslims who were charge-sheeted first by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and later by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the blast case.
“On Saturday, the agency arrested an important accused, Manohar Singh, who is a resident of Gurgakhedi under the Hatod police station of Indore district. Investigators have reasons to believe that Manohar planted one of the four improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Malegaon in September, 2006, resulting in death of 37 persons,” said a senior NIA official.
Before the arrest of Manohar Singh, the NIA had arrested Rajendra Pehelwan alias Samandar in the Samjhauta Express blasts and Dhan Singh in the Malegaon blast in September 29, 2008. But during their questioning they also claimed to have planted IEDs outside a mosque on September 8, 2006, during Friday prayers.
The NIA is slated to arrest Samandar on January 3 in connection with the Malegaon bombings. Dhan Singh will also be formally arrested in the case once his custody expires in the second Malegaon bombing of 2008, where he is believed to have planted explosives in a motorbike.