Posted by: informer | November 17, 2008

Army, IB involved in training Bajrang Dal

THANE: A statement made to the police in 2006 has brought into focus the possibility that retired officials of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) may have links with radical Hindutva outfits and may also be actively participating in camps organised by the Bajrang Dal, a militant wing of the RSS.

The statement was made by Pune resident Sanatkumar Bhate after the Nanded blast in 2006. He was then a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) sympathiser, but later distanced himself from te outfit.

Bhate, who had imparted training in self-defence and lathi combat to Bajrang Dal cadres, had revealed that ex-IB officials and ex-Indian Army personnel were involved with the Hindutva brigade. The confession was made to the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in July 2006.

While the role of army personnel has come under the scanner following the arrests of Lt Col Shrikant Purohit and Major (Retd) Ramesh Upadhyay in the Malegaon blast case, no questions have been asked about ex-IB officials.

Bhate had then named the Bhonsale Military School in Pune as the venue for the Dals traning camp. Questions are being raised about the delay made by investigating agencies to further probe the confessions made by Bhate two years ago.

Bhate, a former merchant navy captain, had spilled the beans before the ATS while being questioned about his association with those involved in the blast at Nanded. Bhate is understood to have been in close contact with Dal leader Himanshu Panse, who died in the blast in a residence in April 2006. Two persons died while a bomb was being manufactured. Two others died later in hospital.

Bhate had stated that he attended a 40-day All India Bajrang Dal camp held in May 2000 at the Bhonsale Military School, where 110 to 115 Dal cadres had assembled from across the nation. At this camp, the retired army officials and ex-IB officials imparted training in air-gun shooting and also in karate, obstacle course etc, Bhate had said in his statement recorded by ATS official A Tamaychekar.

TOI is in possession of this document which reveals the elaborate planning and training of the Bajrang Dal cadres in armed defence. Bhate had also handed over photographs of the event and accommodation arrangements made for participants.

Political leaders are now demanding a scrutiny of Bhates statement as well as a thorough probe into the Dals activities, including its networking with institutions like the army and IB. NCP leader Jitendra Awhad has demanded a white paper into the entire issue and is seeking details of the training camp held in 2000.

“I have asked the state government to prepare a white paper on this issue and the possibility of Hindutva groups being linked to blasts in Nanded, Parbhani and Jalna. The state government should reveal who had organised this training camp, the names of all the participants, who were the people who imparted training to the cadres, etc. Moreover, the white paper should also share information on whether the blasts in Nanded, Parbhani and Jalna can be linked to this group,” Awhad said.

The Nanded blast had occurred in April 2006 in the house of one Laxman Rajkondwar. It is said that the police had stumbled upon incriminating documents and items like a skull cap, fake beard and so on while searching the blast site.

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