Mateen Hafeez TNN
Mumbai: The confessional statement of Swami Aseemanand, alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, accused in the Mecca Masjid (Hyderabad) blast case, has opened a can of worms.
It says he paid Rs 25,000 to Ajmer blast suspect Sunil Joshi (who was murdered in December 2007 in Madhya Pradesh) prior to the 2006 Malegaon mosque blasts for buying material for the bomb.
Aseemanand (59), who was arrested on November 19 after a two-year CBI chase, told magistrate Deepak Dabas on December 18 that the Sankat Mochan temple blast in Kashi provoked his group into bombing mosques in retaliation; the decision was taken at a meeting attended by Joshi, Bharat Riteshwar, alias Bharat Bhai (the head of Sri Vivekananda Kendra Sansthan, Valsad, Gujarat), and Malegaon blast suspect Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, besides Aseemanand. The meeting was conducted at Bharat Bhai’s residence in Valsad.
“I told them that Muslims are 80% of Malegaon’s populaized Dange was taunting me because of my refusal.”
The blasts took place on September 8, 2006. The antiterrorism squad (ATS) arrested nine Muslim boys, saying they wanted to create “a riotlike situation in the state”. It later transpired that a hardline Hindutva group could have been behind the blasts.
The boys were booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
Upset with the ATS’s probe, Malegaon residents went on an agitation and even took up the issue with the Centre. The investigation was then handed over to the CBI, which said in court it had not found evidence against the boys.
In his chilling confessional, Aseemanand said: “In the (Valsad) meeting, I also suggested that... (since) a lot of Hindus visit the Ajmer shrine, we should carry out blast there so that Hindus get scared and stop going there. Moreover, I suggested that mostly Pakistanis travel in the Samjhauta Express, so it should also be bombed.”
The Times of India, January 10, 2011