Posted by: informer | November 9, 2008

Malegaon: 3 more arrests, ATS claims witness ‘heard’ Sadhvi discuss blast, killing

Mumbai, November 3 : The Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad today arrested three more in the Malegaon blast case, including treasurer of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) Ajay Eknath Rahirkar (39). While two arrests were made in Pune, one man was arrested from Dombivali in Thane district.The other two arrested are Rakesh Dattaram Dhavde (42) from Pune and Jagdish Chintaman Mhatre (40) from Dombivli. The total number of arrests in the case is now eight.

In the Nashik court today, the ATS also produced Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and her two alleged accomplices Shivnarayan Kalsangram and Shyam Sahu. The court granted custody for the three till November 17.

Defence lawyers came down heavily on the ATS alleging there was no evidence against the accused who had been illegally detained. At this point, the prosecution read out excerpts from a “transcript” of a conversation that allegedly took place between Pragya Thakur and Ramji Kalsangram, who is still absconding.

Ramji is the brother of Shivnarayan Kalsangram and is believed to have planted the bike with the bomb at Malegaon.

The prosecution claimed the conversation took place after the September 29 blast in a room in Ujjain where, apart from Ramji and the Sadhvi, a third person was present, who is now a witness. This witness, who was present in that room, gave a 15-page statement with details of the alleged conversation at the Mazgaon magistrate’s court on October 23.

As per the witness’s statement, Pragya Thakur asks Ramji: “Meri gaadi se blast kiya toh itne kam log kaise mare? Gaadi bheed mein kyun nahi lagayi?” (If my vehicle was used, why did so few die? Why didn’t you park the vehicle in a crowd?) To which Ramji is quoted as saying: “Bheed mein khadi karne nahi diya…(they didn’t let me park it in a crowd).”

“We had to read out the excerpts of this statement because the defence was saying that the allegations made by the ATS were baseless,” said Ajay Misar, prosecution lawyer. The prosecution also told the court that one electric timer and one mobile phone were recovered from Shivanrayan Kalsangram, one laptop and two mobile phones from Pragya Thakur.

The court was also told that during the interrogation of Shyam Sahu, it emerged that Ramji had several SIM cards. The ATS claimed it recovered one such card from Pragya which belonged to Ramji. The ATS says that phone records show that Pragya and Ramji spoke on the phone on June 28 this year.The prosecution informed the court that Pragya would be taken to Mumbai for a narco analysis test, which would be conducted on Tuesday. “We have submitted the letter from Forensic Sciences Laboratory stating that both the tests, polygraph and brain mapping, have come positive, hence the next right step is narco-analysis,” said Misar.

On the fresh arrests, Joint Commissioner of Police (ATS) Hemant Karkare said the name of Rahirkar first figured during the interrogation of ABVP member Sameer Kulkarni who claimed that Rahirkar was the group’s financier.

Karkare said: “Rahirkar handled the financial affairs of the group which is responsible for the blast in Malegaon. Senior members would send him money.”

The ATS remand application to the court states that Rahirkar gave money to Dhavde and Mhatre used it for procuring explosives. The three were remanded to police custody till November 10.

Two mobile phones were seized from Rahirkar’s possession, the ATS said.

“The probe needs to find where the money was sourced from, if they were simple bank transactions or if it was made from abroad through hawala route. Where did they source the money for RDX and how was it routed, is what we have asked in his remand,” said prosecution lawyer Ajay Misar.

The ATS told the court that six imported weapons were seized. Four imported weapons, including a 9-mm revolver and 196 live cartridges, were recovered from Rahirkar from his Pune residence and two imported firearms with 15 live cartridges from Jagdish Mhatre.

While the prosecution produced weapons in the court, the lawyer of the accused questioned whether the revolver found with Dhavde was real or fake since he is in the business of providing fake firearms for films and plays. The prosecution replied that a ballistic report would be submitted to the court.

Members of the Shiv Sena, the BJP, and the Hindu Rashtra Sena shouted slogans at the gate of the court, expressing their solidarity for the Sadhvi and other accused. Himani Savarkar, chief of the Hindu Mahasabha, was also present. She said she had come to express “solidarity” with the Sadhvi and other accused.

Alleged conversation between Pragya and Ramji, as claimed by an ATS witness

Pragya: Malegaon blast mein meri gaadi mili hai.

Ramji: Lekin woh gadi aapne bechi thi

Pragya: Police puchhegi kahaan bechi, kya bata-oon? Kya saboot hai? MP, Gujarat, Maharashtra ?

Ramji: Gujarat bolo

Pragya: Meri gaadi se blast kiya toh itne kam log kaise mare? Gaadi bheed mein kyon nahi lagayi?

Ramji: Bheed mein khadi karne nahi diya¿ Kuchh hua to niptaa lenge. Meri Arvindji se baat hui hai. Woh ek lakh public leke aandolan karenge…


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