Posted by: informer | November 10, 2008

Swami from Dangs under ATS scanner for Malegaon blast

Surat, November 9 : Swami Ashimanand Maharaj of Sabridham in Dangs district is under the Mumbai Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) scanner, after his associate Sunil Dhawde was arrested from Vapi in Valsad district a couple of days ago in connection with the Malegaon blast.An ATS team had visited the ashram a couple of days ago and questioned some of its members, police sources said on Sunday.

According to P P Swami, one of Maharaj’s close friends, the latter belongs to West Bengal and was associated with the Hindu Jagran Samiti. Later, he started working for the development of tribals. An MSc from West Bengal, he had joined a private firm.

Following clashes between Hindu and Christian groups in Dangs in 1998, he came to the district and with the help of the VHP and other Hindu organisations, began working for reconverting tribals to Hinduism.

He is reported to be close to national leaders of the VHP and RSS.Maharaj also acquired land at Subir village in Dangs from one of the local villagers identified as Lasu Gavit, a resident of Mokhamad village in Ahwa taluka.

Sources in Mokhamad village said Maharaj had originally shown that the purpose of acquiring the land was to start a hospital for the tribals, but later he built a small temple of Sabrimata and also four rooms for accommoding pilgrims.

Maharaj also started the Vanwasi Kalyan Ashram School in Vaghai, which he has been running for the past seven years to provide free education to children of tribals.

Different branches of Vanwasi Kalyan Ashram School were opened in different villages in Ahwa taluka. All these schools were run with the support of Hindu organisations.

With the help of the Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad and the Van Vikas Parishad, a three-day Sabri Kumbh Mela was also organised on February 11, 2006. Several leaders of Hindu organisations from Gujarat and Maharashtra and elsewhere visited the fair.

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, one of the accused in the Malegaon blast, came in contact with Maharaj and the two developed a close rapport.

Allegedly, Maharaj also provided a car to Sadhvi Pragya for her visit to different villages in Dangs district during her stay at the fair.

Sunil Dhawde who acted as Sadhvi Pragya’s chauffeur to drive her to different villages in the district was picked up after the Mumbai ATS allegedly found his number in Pragya’s mobile phone.

The police now suspect Maharaj’s involvement in the Malegaon blast, as he has gone underground following the arrest of the Sadhvi….

Swami Ashimanand Maharaj of Sabridham in Dangs has gone underground following the arrest of the Sadhvi….


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