Needle of Malegaon suspicion points to BJP MP Adityanath

November 11th, 2008 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Lucknow, Nov 11 (IANS) Amid speculation that he would be questioned in connection with the Malegaon bombings, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Yogi Adityanath Tuesday refused to assist in the investigations and dared Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) to arrest him. “There is a dangerous conspiracy afoot to label the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a terrorist organisation and give a charitable name to Muslim outfits,” the MP from Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur constituency told reporters in Lucknow.

“I dare the police to arrest me and I will offer no help in their probe,” he added, amid reports that he was likely to be questioned in connection with the Sep 29 Malegaon blasts in which five people were killed.

Adityanath, 36, advised the ATS not to act on instructions from others and also questioned why narco-tests were being conducted on Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon bombing, when it was not done with Islamic militants accused in previous bombings.

His comments came after the ATS Monday filed an application in a Mumbai court seeking permission to interrogate a “high profile leader” and obtain cooperation from the Uttar Pradesh government in doing so.

Though declining to name the leader, the ATS has discreetly conducted operations in Farrukhabad and eastern Uttar Pradesh and found vital leads to the Malegaon bombing.

Investigations into the Malegaon attack have been constantly throwing up new leads since Lt Col P.S. Purohit, a serving officer of the Indian Army, was arrested Nov 5. Some of these leads have led to Adityanath, officials said.

Probe officials said Purohit had allegedly diverted money from funds meant for operational purposes of military intelligence to setting up Abhinav Bharat, the little known rightwing Hindu outfit gradually emerging as the fount of all activities.

Eight people have been picked up by the ATS for their alleged involvement in the terror attack in Malegaon, about 280 km from Mumbai.

Besides Purohit, the other accused include Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Shivnarayan Singh Kalsangram, Shyam Bhawarlal Sahu, Major Ramesh Shivji Upadhyay (retd), Sameer Kulkarni, Rakesh Dattaram Dhavde and Ajay Rahirkar.

The surprise arrests have indicated a change of course for police, who had blamed Muslim activists for a wave of bombings that have killed more than 145 people across the country since May.

Adityanath, who is unapologetic about his strident brand of Hindutva politics, is widely held as responsible for the BJP’s foothold in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Known for his Hindu awakening rallies, Adityanath has also sought to justify the attack on churches in Orissa following the killing of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader.

“The Hindu reaction (after the killing of the priest) is justified and it is high time that the Hindus should pick up weapons just like our gods and goddesses adorn weapons,” Adityanath, the successor of Mahant Avaidyanath of the Gorakhpur Temple Trust, had said.

Adityanath has been active in reconverting other religious groups, particularly the low-caste converts to Christianity, back into the Hindu fold. In 2005, a large group of 1,800 people were converted in the town of Etah.

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