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CBI to reopen probes into Nanded blasts

Sources in the agency said the CBI would reopen the case as some leads had emerged during the investigations into the Sept 29 Malegaon blast.

india Updated: Nov 23, 2008 22:05 IST

With fresh leads emerging out of Malegaon blast case, the CBI may soon reopen investigations into the 2006 Nanded blast, which is being seen as a main indicator of saffron group emerging as a major terror network.

While officially the CBI had adopted a taciturn policy on the issue, sources in the agency said it would reopen the case as some leads had emerged during the investigations into the September 29 Malegaon blast in which 11 people, including Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, have been arrested.

CBI's role had come into question from the probe conducted by central security agencies and Maharashtra's ATS, the agency appeared to have not taken due cognisance of deposition of one of the accused arrested in the case.

The accused, whose voice had to be restored after operating his vocal chord which was damaged in the blast, had told investigators that Naresh Rajkondwar, a Bajrang Dal activist, had allegedly planned three blasts outside mosques that shook Jalna and Parbani in Maharashtra in 2003 and 2004.

Several rounds of meetings took place between the CBI officials and central security agencies where sleuths probing the Malegaon blasts pointed out some of the alleged loopholes in the investigations carried out by the CBI.

The Nanded bomb blast took place in the intervening night of April 4 and 5, 2006 at the residence of Laxman Rajkondwar, allegedly a RSS worker. Rajkondwar's son Naresh and Himanshu Panse, who was VHP activist, were killed while assembling the bomb.

CBI had chargesheeted ten people in the case. But sources said it has not been able to trace back the leads provided by some of the accused who claimed to have admitted, before investigators, their role in the earlier blasts.

Recoveries made from Rajkondwar's house included Muslim skull caps, fake beards and a plan showing that the target was to hit a mosque at Aurangabad, nearly 200 km from Nanded.

The CBI would now be focussing more on recovery of over a ton of explosives used in manufacturing of fire crackers and its links with the previous blasts.

Sources said that one of the accused had told the investigators that he was sent to Pune by Naresh on his train ticket on the day when crude explosive material was thrown outside a mosque in Jalna in 2004, a move aimed at creating an alibi for Naresh and to show that he was not in town when the blast took place.

The CBI was also asked by central security agencies as to why the call details of Naresh were not investigated properly, the sources said and claimed that one such call had been traced to an important functionary of a saffron outfit in Ayodhya.

The CBI would also try and probe the links of 10 arrests in the Malegaon blast case including Lt Colonel Srikant Purohit, with the Nanded case.

The agency had investigated the Nanded blast and filed a chargesheet on March 15, 2008 against 10 people which included Sanjay Chowdhury, Yogesh Deshpande, Maruti Wagah, Gunniraj Thakur and Mahesh Pandey, allegedly associated with Bajrang Dal besides the two who were killed.

First Published: Nov 23, 2008 17:14 IST