'Link between Malegaon and July 11 blasts soon'

ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi says the Malegaon conspiracy was hatched with a definite bearing on the Mumbai train blasts, reports Debasish Panigrahi.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2006 22:17 IST

The Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) is on the verge of establishing a link between the Mumbai serial blasts of July 11 and the serial blasts that rocked Malegaon on September 8.

ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi told HT on Sunday that investigations so far into the Malegaon blasts have revealed that the conspiracy was hatched not in isolation but with a definite bearing on the Mumbai serial train bombings.

"There appears to be a distant but definite link between the two blasts," Raghuvanshi added.

He said that two amongst the four-five more persons whom the ATS was on the look out for in connection with the Malegaon blasts held key to establish the Mumbai link of the Malegaon blasts.

"Their arrest and subsequent interrogation would make the air clear," Raghuvanshi said while refusing to disclose the names of the two wanted who supposedly held the crucial link in the massive conspiracy which was hatched to trigger serial blasts in different parts of the state in a phased manner.

Meanwhile, sources in the ATS revealed that the conspiracy for both the Mumbai and Malegaon blasts were conceived in February this year.

The ball was set into motion once the explosives and logistics arrived in Mumbai by the Pakistani carriers during May and June.

To drive home its point, sources said that one of the alleged chief conspirators of the Malegaon blasts, Shabbir Ahmad Masiullah alias Shabbir Batterywalla, was rounded up in the aftermath of the Mumbai blasts of July 11 for his alleged links with the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

The crime branch had smelt his complicity in subversive activities and booked him under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Even when he was in judicial custody, the serial blasts rocked Malegaon on September 8 and he was subsequently arrested by the ATS for that case.

"This shows that there were common conspirators to both the blasts. And in many cases, they share common blood links or are bound by close family or business ties," sources said, adding that a link with the blasts and the Aurangabad arms haul of May 9 could also be another possibility which the ATS was exploring.

Email Author:debasish.panigrahi@hindustantimes.com

First Published: Nov 05, 2006 22:17 IST