ATS questions three more serving army men in Malegaon blasts

December 22nd, 2008 - 8:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS)) Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) Monday questioned three army men in the Sep 29 Malegaon bombing that left six people dead, an official said.Amongst the army men questioned are one Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and two soldiers.

“The three have served under Lt. Col. Srikant Prasad Purohit and are not suspects in the case. They are being questioned as police want to gather more information regarding Purohit,” a senior army official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Sources say the army men, who were questioned in Mumbai, were from military intelligence.

Purohit, who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Malegaon blasts, is said to be associated with Abhinav Bharat, a radical Hindu right-wing militant group blamed for the Malegaon blasts.

The police suspect that Purohit helped accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, retired army major Ramesh Upadhyaya and his associate Sharad Kulkarni in procuring explosives used in the blast.

The army officer’s name emerged from the interrogation of prime accused Thakur’s associates Shyam Bhavarlal Sahu and Shiv Narain Singh.

The army officer was arrested from Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh in November where he was posted in the army’s education wing. The police believe he has met Abhinav Bharat activists several times during his earlier posting in army’s Deolali camp.

The Mumbai police officers questioned Purohit for six days in the presence of an army official before placing him under arrest.

The ATS is said to be in possession of transcripts of a few telephonic conversations and SMSes between the retired and the serving army officers regarding the blast.

Purohit is also accused of having attended a meeting with the alleged conspirators at the Nashik Bhonsala Military School Sep 16.

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