Officer’s arrest has dented force’s image: Deputy army chief

November 6th, 2008 - 8:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 6 (IANS) The Indian Army Thursday conceded that the arrest of Lt. Col. Shrikant Purohit in connection with a terror blast late September - the first case of a serving military officer taken into custody on terror charge - has hurt its image.”The Indian Army’s prestige has been hurt after our officer’s name came up in the Malegaon blast case,” Deputy Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. S.P.S. Dhillon told reporters here.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a Sainik Sammelan on 3/3 Gurkha Rifles’ induction in the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Congo.

Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested Lt. Col. Purohit late Tuesday for his links with the Sep 29 bomb blast in Malegaon, which killed five people and was blamed on a Hindu militant group. Purohit is said to be a founding member of Abhinav Bharat, a radical Hindu rightwing group. He has been remanded in judicial custody till Nov 15.

Dhillon said that befitting action will be taken against those guilty after an action taken report from the ATS.

“This is a freak incident. We have our own mechanism for keeping a check on these kind of things,” Dhillon added.

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 three are already in police custody.

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