Monday, January 24, 2011

‘CBI is toeing ATS line in blasts probe’

BEHIND BARS: Residents stage a demonstration against the arrest of Malegaon youths in the 2006 blasts

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The special CBI team, camping in Malegaon to reinvestigate the 2006 blast case, has irked some residents who said the sleuths were not probing the “rightwing angle” as confessed by Swami Aseemanand.

The CBI team has reportedly asked the imam of a mosque why Muslims in Malegaon are supporting SIMI members, who are allegedly responsible for the blasts.

The twist in the tale came after Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand (59) of the Shabridham Ashram told a magistrate that “his men” were involved in the blasts. Following that, the CBI filed an application in a special court in Mumbai, seeking permission for reinvestigation.

On September 8, 2006, four RDX bombs planted on bicycles near a mosque at a cemetery in Mushawerat Chowk went off, killing 31 people and injuring 297. The Maharashtra ATS had then picked up nine youths and ever since, Malegaon residents have been protesting against the arrests.

A 10-member CBI team arrived in Malegaon on Wednesday. CBI officials met an imam and asked him to come to the government guesthouse in the Camp area for routine inquiry.

The CBI team asked the imam, “Why do people in Malegaon support the absconding SIMI youths who are responsible for the blasts?” The imam told the CBI that the residents did not agree that the arrested youths were behind the blasts. He reportedly asked, “When Aseemanand has confessed to his crime, why are you not investigating the case on those lines?”

Sources said after grilling the imam, the CBI team visited the residences of three wanted accused, Munawwar Hussain, Riyaz Arsalan and Ishtiyaque Ahmed. The officials asked their family members about their whereabouts. “Ask your children to surrender. It is better for them,” the team members told the families. The residents said that the CBI is retracing the ATS probe and not exploring the other side as confessed by Aseemanand.

M V Laad, who is part of the CBI team, refused to comment.

The Times of India, January 24, 2011

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