Three more arrested for Malegaon blast, foreign weapons seized (Lead)

November 3rd, 2008 - 11:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Nov 3 (IANS) The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) Monday nabbed three more suspects in connection with the Malegaon blasts, including an alleged financer of the group, a top police official said.The arrested include Ajay Raikar, who allegedly managed the financial affairs of the entire operation, ATS chief Hemant Karkare said here late Monday evening.

The other two nabbed are Rakesh Dhavade and Jagdish Mhatre who, Karkare said, were involved in procuring weapons for the operation.

The police have recovered some foreign-made weapons like Smith & Wesson, Luger and .36 revolvers and 190 live catridges from Mhatre, he said.

With this, the total number of arress in the Malegaon blast case has gone up to eight.

The others arrested earlier are: Sadhvi (Hindu missionery) Pragnya Singh Thakur, Shyamlal Sahu, Shivnarain Singh Kalsagra, Sameer Kulkarni and Ramesh Upadhyay.

Besides these, Ashok Chawla was detained by the ATS from Jabalpur and the police are interrogating a serving army officer, Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit, and Col. (retd) S.S. Raikar, who is said to be the principal of the Bhonsala Military School (BMS), Nashik.

At least six members of this group had attended a meeting convened by Sadhvi Pragnya at the BMS 15 days before the Malegaon blast.

The trio arrested in the latest round was presented before the Nashik court Monday afternoon. The court then remanded them in police custody till Nov 10.

Karkare said the ATS investigations revealed that Raikar looked after the entire financial aspects of the terror operation culminating in the Sep 29 Malegaon blast which left five people dead.

He gave money to Sameer Kulkarni and Dhavade to procure weapons for the terror operations. Dhavade paid Mhatre to get the weapons, Karkare said.

Karkare also dismissed “as not based on facts” certain media reports claiming that the ATS had drawn a blank in the Sadhvi’s brain mapping tests.

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