Malegaon blast: ‘Shankaracharya’ in police custody for 12 days (Lead)

November 14th, 2008 - 10:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Nashik (Maharashtra), Nov 14 (IANS) Self-styled Shankaracharya Amritanand Dev of Jammu’s Sharada Sarvadnya Peeth, who is also known as Dayanand Pandey, was Friday remanded to 12 days’s police custody by the chief judicial magistrate’s court here to facilitate investigation of his suspected role in the Sep 29 Malegaon bomb blast in which six people were killed.The Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra Police, which produced Pandey before the court, was also permitted to conduct his brain-mapping, narco analysis and polygraph tests to further the probe.

The ATS had Thursday arrested the self-styled pontiff from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh and obtained his transit remand from a local court there.

The ATS told the court that Pandey attended several meetings of right wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat in Bhopal, Jabalpur and Faridabad this year and “directed” Malegaon blast accused Lt. Col. Prasad Srikant Purohit to procure and use RDX in the terror act.

The ATS further said that Pandey’s association with Purohit and other accused dates back to at least 2006, when he participated in an arms training camp of the Bajrang Dal and Abhinav Bharat in Simhagad, Pune.

Pandey had also met accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Purohit and absconding prime accused Ramnarain Singh alias Ramji in Pune just before the Malegaon blast, the ATS told court.

Abhinav Bharat treasurer Ajay Rahilkar, another accused in the case, had transferred large sums of money to Pandey’s bank accounts in the days before the blast, the court was informed.

The ATS told the court it had seized from Pandey quite a few incriminating documents and other material including Kingfisher airline tickets, mobile SIM cards, handsets and pen drives to substantiate its charges.

In an apparent bid to make out a case for wrongful arrest, the “Shankaracharya” told the court that he was not Dayanand Pandey but Amritanand Dwivedi. He also complained of torture during his transit remand but offered to cooperated with the ATS in investigations by undergoing all scientific tests.

On Thursdday, Kanpur judicial magistrate Mukesh Kumar Singh, who too was initially baffled by the multiplicity of the seer’s names, granted the transit remand after being convinced that Dayanand Pandey, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Swamy Amrutanand Dev are aliases of the same person who heads the Sharada Sarvadnya Peeth in Jammu.

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