Posted by: informer | November 9, 2008

How the ATS cracked the Malegaon case

Nashik, November 5 : The engine and chassis number of the “Freedom LML” bike that was used in the Malegaon blasts was badly tampered and completely erased, and the investigation team was further misled by the fake registration number — MH 15 P 4572. It was a chemical test at the Nashik laboratory that revealed that the engine number was E 55 ok 261886.This number was then matched with LML records and traced to a Gujarat RTO registration with the numberplate GJ 05 BR 1920, belonging to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. From here began a trail, which led to Pragya’s questioning. ATS sources said Pragya was not able to give a satisfactory answer on the whereabouts of her bike, first saying that it was sold and later claiming that it was stolen. The bike was still registered in her name.

According to the remand application filed before the Nashik Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court, Pragya, a former ABVP member, revealed the names of Shivnarayan Kalsangra and Shyamlal Sahu, who were both picked up from Indore. The trio were arrested on October 23.

During the probe, it was found that the bike had been in the possession of Kalsangra’s relative, Ramji Kalsangra, for the last few months.

The case against the trio strengthened when the ATS team raided the homes and offices of the accused. Two electric timers were recovered from the Indore residence of Shivnarayan Kalsangra, who has a shop that deals in electrical equipment.

During interrogation, Sahu also revealed that Ramji had exchanged many SIM cards, one of which was with Pragya.

The remand application further states that Pragya admitted she was in touch with members of Abhinav Bharat. The ATS found that the organisation functioned through secret meetings and Pragya had attended two such meetings in Bhopal and Jabalpur.

On further questioning, Pragya revealed two more names — Abhinav Bharat’s Madhya Pradesh unit’s founding member and chief publicist Sameer Kulkarni and working president Major (retired) Ramesh Upadhyay. Kulkarni was brought from Indore to Mumbai, where he reportedly admited to have met Pragya at one such secret meeting in Bhopal.

Upadhyay and Kulkarni were arrested on October 28. Pragya, Upadhyay and Kulkarni are alleged to have made many contacts via phone, SMSes and secret meetings before the blasts at Malegaon.

When Upadhyay was questioned, the name of Abhinav Bharat’s treasurer, Ajay Eknath Rahirkar, emerged for the first time. Abhinav Bharat’s website lists Rahirkar’s residential address as its official headquarters. Senior officials confirmed that the organisation was not registered.Rahirkar was arrested on November 2. Joint Commissioner of Police Hemant Karkare said it was Rahirkar who supplied the funds for the procurement of arms and explosives, which was given to Rakesh Dhavde.

Dhavde was picked up from his Pune residence on the same day. A search of his house led to the seizure of four weapons and 196 live cartridges. Dhavde reportedly told the ATS that Jagdish Mhatre, a resident of Dombivali, had given him the weapons. On November 3, Mhatre’s house was searched. Two imported weapons and 15 live cartridges were recovered.

The probe led to serving Army officer Lt Col Prasad Purohit, after Upadhyay admitted that he was the one who had approached him. In fact, it was Purohit who led the ATS team to Rahirkar’s residence.All the nine arrested so far have been charged under various sections of 302, 307, 323, 34, 428 and under the Explosives Act.

The ATS, in its remand application, states that the group decided to target Malegaon as it was the place where Hindus and Muslims gather in huge crowds. The motive was to cause maximum casualties and create communal tension….


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