Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2008 bomb blast

Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit was a serving army officer when arrested for his alleged connection with the Malegaon blast. He is accused of supplying RDX for the blast.

A powerful bomb, fitted on a motor bike, went off in Bhikku chowk area on September 29,2008. The bomb killed six persons and injured 101 persons. This was the second blast in two years. The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) arrested 11 persons belonging to Abhinav Bharat outfit. The trial is on in a Nashik court.

Purohit organised a terror training camp near Pachmarhi in MP for semi-literate Hindus. The recruits were taught how to make firearms, assemble and operate them for ‘self-defence’ in the 15-day session. However, the intention was not self-defence but to disrupt communal harmony.

Moreover, the confessional statements and witnesses’ testimonies in the Malegaon blast case have revealed that rightwing group Abhinav Bharat’s meetings discussed the possibility of an attack on Urs celebrations in Panipat.

Malegaon blast: Sept 29, 2008
Bomb’s make: RDX, ammonium nitrate, oil fuel, shrapnel
Spot: Bhikku Chowk, Malegaon
Time: 9.35 pm
Occasion: Two days before Ramzan Eid
Killed: Six, including an 11-yr-old
Injured: 101 persons
Investigating agency: The antiterrorism squad
Total arrested: 11
Still absconding: Ramji Kalangsara, Sandeep Dange and Pravin Mutalik
Who are they?
Members of Hindu hardliners’ outfits, Abhinav Bharat, Jai Vande Matram Jan
Kalyan Samiti, Hindu Rashtra Sena, among others
Confessional statements: 2
MCOCA slapped on the case: Nov 20, 2008
Pages in the chargesheet: 4,528 (filed on Jan 20, 2009)
MCOCA dropped by a special court: July 31, 2009

Behind Bars:
* Pragya Singh Thakur (38):
A former member of Durga Vahini, BJP's women's wing. A masters degree holder in History, Thakur took Sanyas and became a Sadhvi in January 2007. Thakur's bike was used to plant bomb in Malegaon. She is accused of engineering the blast.
She was arrested on October 23.

* Shamlal Sahu (42):
He is suspected to be one of the bomb planter. A commerce graduate from Christian College in Indore, Sahu has a mobile phone shop and also acted as a realty broker. According to Madhya Pradesh PWD minister, Kailash Vijayvargia, Sahu is a BJP member. Sahu is also accused of conspiring the bomb blast.
He was arrested on October 23.

* Shivnarayan Kalangasara Singh (36):
A B Sc graduate from New Sciene college in Indore, Singh works as an electrician and is also an LIC agent. He has been termed as ``mechanical and electrical'' expert by the ATS. He is suspected to have assembled the timer device while making the bomb.
He was arrested on October 23.

* Sameer Kulkarni (32):
A former member of Akhil Bharatya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) who moved from Maharashtra to Bhopal a few years ago. He was emploeyed in a printing press and would distribute pamphletes and literature ``to educate Hindu youths'' about religion. He is supected to have brough the chemicals used in the bomb.
He was arrested on October 28.

* Retired major Ramesh Upadhyay (64):
A resident of Akurdi in Pune, he worked in Military's intelliegence unit. Upadhyay is suspected to have provided training to the planters for assembling bombs and procuring the bomb material. He also headed BJP's ex servicemen's cell in Mumbai but was removed by the higher authorities.
He was arrested on October 28.

* Ajay Rahirkar (39):
He was the treasurer of Abhinav Bharat and part of the fund raisers' group. He is a Pune resident and had paid Rs 2.5 lakh to Swami Dayanand Pandey prior to the blast.
He was arrested on November 2.

* Rakesh Dhawde (35):
Dhawde has been booked in four bomb blasts cases too. They were Qadriya mosque blast in Jalna, Mohammediya mosque blast in Parbhani, another mosque blast at Porna and a bomb blast at a Bajrang Dal member, Laxman Rajkondwar's house on April 6, 2006. A Pune resident, Dhawde also arranged terror training for the Bajrang Dal members and collected weapons for training. He was a weapon consultant for Aamir Khan starrer movie, Mangal Pandey- The Rising.
He was arrested on November 2.

* Jagdish Mhatre (40):
A habitual criminal and accused in murder and extortion cases in Kalyan and Thane, Mhatre resided at Dombivili at the time of his arrest. He had paid money to Dhawde to buy weapons.
He was arrested on November 2.

* Lt. Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit (37):
He is accused of procuring the RDX used in the blast. Arranged and attended meetings, collectd funds and is a prime conspirator. He was posted at the Army Education Corpse Training Centre and College in Panchmadi, Madhya Pradesh where he was doing a course in Arabic at the time of his arrest.
He was arrested on November 5.

* Swami Dayanand Pandey alias Shankar Acharya alias Sukhakar Dwuvedi (40):
He had asked Purohit to arrange for explosves for the Malegaon blast. He conducted meetings with the other accused. He ran two ashrams, one Kanpur and another in Jammu and Kashmir, prior to his arrest.
He was arrested on November 14.

* Sudhakar Chaturvedi (37): Originally a resident of Mirzapur in UP, Chaturvedi was picked up from Deolali where he stayed in a rented room. He is accused of conspiracy.
He was arrested on November 18.

Case was first registered at the Azad Nagar police station in Malegaon on September 29, 2008. Later, it was transferred to the ATS police station (CR No. 18/08) in Mumbai.

The accused have been booked under the Indian Penal Code for crimes such as murder under Section 302, attempt to murder under Section 307 and conspiracy under Section 120-B. They have been slapped with provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for trying to ‘overawe the government’ and ‘threatening the unity and integrity of the nation’, under the Explosives Act for use of RDX to engineer the blast, and the MCOCA for being members of an organised crime syndicate.

* Sections of the Indian Penal Code: 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 327 (voluntarily causing hurt to extort property, or to constrain to an illegal to an act) and 153 (d).

* Sections 15, 18 and 23 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA)
* Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Explosive Substance Act
* Sections 3, 7and 25 of the Arms Act
* Sections 3 (1) (i) and 3 (2) (3) (4) of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA)

The bike used in the blast is said to have been once owned by Sadhvi Pragya
* Recorded conversation between Lt Col Prasad Purohit and retired Major Ramesh Upadhyaya
* Traces of RDX found in Sudhakar Chaturvedi’s house SMS messages sent from Purohit’s phone to Upadhyaya Two important confession statements made in the presence of a magistrate
* 431 witnesses, of which five are army officers
* 12 written witness statements
* A laptop seized from Dayanand Pandey containing valuable proof

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