Malegaon accused gets further custody in Purna blast case

November 25th, 2008 - 9:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Purna (Maharashtra), Nov 25 (IANS) A local court Tuesday extended the police custody of Malegaon blast accused Rakesh Dhawde by three days to facilitate further investigation of his role in a blast that took place here in 2004.Dhawde, a dealer in illicit arms in Pune, was already in custody of the local crime branch police since Nov 21 but Judge Sajid Arif of the junior magistrate first class court granted the police request for extended custody till Nov 28.

While 18 persons were injured in the Purna blast that took place outside a mosque, six people were hurt in a similar blast that occurred the same day in adjoining Jalna town and one person died in a bomb explosion in Parbhani town in 2003.

Dhawde is suspected to have some connection with these blasts, as also in the accidental explosion in Nanded in 2006 in which two Bajrang Dal workers, Himanshu Panse and Naresh Rajkondawar, were killed while trying to make a bomb at Rajkondawar’s residence.

The accused is learnt to have admitted to the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra Police that he arranged transport for participants of the Abhinav Bharat-Bajrang Dal training camp in Simhagad, on the outskirts of Pune in July 2003, from four towns in Marathwada.

Both Panse and Rajkondawar had attended the Simhagad camp, in which Malegaon blast accused Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit, Major (retd) Ramesh Upadhyay, Sadhvi Pragnya Thakur and Dayanand Pandey are said to have played a major role.

Dhawde has also reportedly admitted helping the organisers of the camp with arms and explosives for use in the training.

In fact, the Central Bureau of Investigation officers, who have recently reopened the Nanded blast probe in the light of leads emerging from the Malegaon blast investigations, were all set to move a Nanded court Tuesday for Dhawde’s custody.

The ATS probe in all the four blasts has been taken over by the CBI, which had dropped the chargesheets prepared by the Maharashtra investigating agency.

The extended police custody remand of Dhawde in the Purna blast case is likely to help the police draw a connection between the four Marathwada blasts and the Sept 29 terror strike in Malegaon.

Dhawde is learnt to have attended the Sept 16 Abhinav Bharat meeting in Nashik’s Bhonsala Military School premises along with the other key accused, where the Malegaon blast plan was supposedly finalised.

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