'Pakistanis behind Malegaon blasts'
Police claim to have solved the serial blasts carried out at the powerloom town, reports Abhishek Sharan.
The Anti-Terrorist squad (ATS) of the Mumbai Police claims to have solved the Malegaon blasts case.
Two Pakistani bomb experts visited Malegaon in July to help assemble the four RDX-based devices that ripped through the powerloom town on September 8, killing 31 and injuring 105.
The two terrorists—Muzammil and another unidentified man—have since returned to Pakistan and have been named as absconding accused in the case along with six others, the ATS said on Monday.
Eight members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) have since been arrested in connection with the case. These include three conspirators and three bomb planters.
Director General of Police PS Pasricha said the bombs were "plotted and executed to instigate communal riots". The accused belonged to an independent SIMI module and were helped by a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) unit headed by its western India 'commander' Faisal Sheikh. Sheikh has also been named by the police as the mastermind of the July 11 train blasts in Mumbai.
The RDX used for the blasts had come to India before May 2006 and the conspiracy was hatched at Noor ul Hooda's wedding at Malegaon on May 8.
"In all, 15 kg of RDX was delivered at Malegaon by Mohammad Ali and only two kg was used to trigger the four blasts. Investigations are on to trace the remaining RDX," Pasricha said.
He said they have four more months time to file the chargesheet. Pasricha stopped short of naming Pakistan as a sponsor of the blasts, saying the ATS only had evidence of the role of individual Pakistani terror elements.
ATS sleuths said the Pakistanis could belong to the LeT or the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). "The terror pattern nowadays was to involve specialists from different outfits," said the officers who declined to be named.
According to ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi two Pakistani operatives arrived in Malegaon in the third week of July. They helped make the bombs at a godown owned by alleged mastermind Shabbir Masiullah, who has since been arrested.
The ATS has recorded confessions of many of the accused under Section 18 of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, which has not been retracted.
The ATS says it has evidence from forensic and narco-analysis tests and an eyewitness account too.
Email Abhishek Sharan: firstname.lastname@example.org