Home >Politics >Policy >Malegaon blasts: Chargesheets filed against 4

Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday filed a chargesheet against four people, suspected to be members of a right wing terror group, for allegedly planning, conspiring and triggering blasts in Malegaon in 2006 that left 37 people dead.

The chargesheet was submitted in a special court in Mumbai in which the probe agency has named Lokesh Sharma, a key suspect, Dhan Singh, Rajendra Chaudhary and Manohar. All the four who are in judicial custody have been charged with murder and other sections of Indian Penal Code and Explosives Act.

The NIA had earlier said in its release that Ram Chandra Kalsangra, another key suspect who is absconding, had been named in the 60-page chargesheet. However, it later clarified that investigations against 41-year Kalsangra alias Ramji, Sandeep Dange and Amit Halka were still underway. These three are absconding.

The move by NIA has left Mumbai Police’s elite Anti Terror Squad, which had arrested nine Muslim youths for allegedly conspiring and triggering explosion in the communally-sensitive powerloom township located 290 kms from Mumbai, and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) red faced.

Kalsangra, who has been declared as a proclaimed offender and also carries a cash reward of Rs10 lakh, along with Dange, is alleged to be the main planner. The duo are alleged to have strapped bicycles with explosives which were planted outside a mosque on 8 September 2006.

Lokesh Sharma, who is also alleged to be key conspirator in the Samjhauta Express blast of 2007, was arrested in connection with Malegaon blast earlier this year. Sharma is alleged to have been responsible for providing logistical support to the terror group which was engaged in targeting places frequented by Muslims.

The NIA made its breakthrough in the blast case when it arrested Chaudhary, Dhan Singh and Manmohan, who were alleged to be a part of the criminal conspiracy.

Chaudhary, according to the NIA, is one of the main conspirators in planning and execution of the multiple blasts in Malegaon blasts. Dhan Singh is alleged to have told the interrogators that he had visited Malegaon along with Kalsangra, Choudhary and Amit Halka alias Prince on 1 September 2006 and left for Indore the same evening after a recce of target locations.

Manohar’s role came out before the NIA during the interrogation of Chaudhary, an alleged bomber of Samjhauta Express blast, who had claimed to be also a part of the conspiracy behind the Malegaon blasts, the agency said.

The nine arrested Muslim youths came out of jail after nearly five years when their bail plea was not opposed. Investigations into terror cases like Malegaon took a different turn after right-wing group Abhinav Bharat member Swami Aseemanand stated in his confessional statement before a magistrate that Malegaon blasts were executed by a Hindu group.

Aseemanand, alias Jatin Chatterjee, had stated that slain RSS worker Sunil Joshi and others were responsible for the Malegaon blasts. However, he later attempted to backtrack from his confessional statement.

Four bombs planted in Malegaon had exploded on 8 September. The fateful day happened to be ‘Shab-e-Baraat’, considered auspicious among Muslims, when they assemble to pay respects to their departed kin.

Malegaon had seen another terror attack in 2008 allegedly by right-wing Hindu groups. Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and former Lt. Col. Srikanth Purohit were arrested in connection with the incident.

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