Posted by: informer | November 11, 2008

Malegaon probe: ATS to question a ‘VVIP’ in UP

Nashik, November 10 : A Nashik court on Monday allowed the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) to question a ‘very very high profile’ person from Uttar Pradesh in connection with the September 29 Malegaon blast probe and ATS investigators are expected to travel to UP soon to pursue what they say is a key lead.Although the ATS in normal circumstances does not require a court’s permission to question people in another state, sources said the department was arming itself with the order to avoid any “possible hurdles” during the process. They said the UP person is suspected to be “organiser” of training camps in Sinhagad, Pune, in 2003.

The court’s permission came as the ATS said it had conducted a narco-analysis test on Lt. Col. Prasad Shrikanth Purohit in a Bangalore hospital on Sunday. The serving officer was arrested last week for his suspected role in funding and organising logistics for the blast which killed five Muslims during the fasting month of Ramzan.

The ATS also asked the court to extend the custody of Rakesh Dhavde, who is suspected to have procured the explosives and who was in police custody until Monday, due to his alleged links with the 2003 Parbhani blast, the 2004 Jalna blast and the 2006 Nanded blast.

ATS Special Public Prosecutor Ajay Misar argued that Dhavde “played a key role in training, accommodation of the participants and transport of explosives to the 2003 training camp in Sinhagad in Pune. He is also involved in training some of the deceased accused in the recent blast cases.”

Sources said that the ATS had also learnt from Dhavde that there were over 54 participants in this training camp, a list of which was allegedly stored on Purohit’s laptop which the ATS is yet to find.

Dhavde allegedly told the police that Ajay Rahirkar, who has also been arrested, in his capacity as a treasurer transferred funds to various members of Abhinav Bharat.

The police have unearthed transactions of Rs 95,000 between Rahirkar and retired Major Ramesh Upadhay, Rs 1.95 lakh given to Sameer Kulkarni, and Rs 3.2 lakh to Dhavde.

“Prasad Purohit had asked Rahirkar to distribute over Rs 5 lakh to some other people. There is also an angadia (courier) transaction of Rs 3,98,500 which came to Purohit and needs to be probed. A hawala transaction of Rs 10,73,200 is also under the scanner with the ATS trying to find the source,” added Misar. “There are many other accounts where huge amounts have been deposited.”Seeking custody of Rahirkar and Dhavde, Misar said, “We need them for a confrontation with Purohit. Rahirkar was present in the house of one Shyam Apte along with Purohit at a meeting that took place in Indore. The ATS wants to take Rahirkar to Indore for the probe.”

The prosecution also submitted a ballistics report confirming that the weapons and ammunition seized from the residences of Dhavde and Jagdish Mhatre were imported weapons and live cartridges, and not antiques as argued by the defense.

Dhavde’s lawyer Bipin Patole argued that he held a very respectable position in society and is known to have held exhibitions on weapons and artillery. The ATS has also sought permission for narco-analysis tests on Rahirkar and Dhawde, to ascertain where the RDX was stored and to probe financial transactions….


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