In 2008, ‘Malegaon bombers’ had Godhra in crosshairs, did a recce

Dhan Singh was arrested in Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh's Satna district on December 17, 2012. Two days earlier, Choudhary had been picked up in Ujjain district, also in Madhya Pradesh. Ramji and Amit alias Prince, who is also known as Ashwani Chauhan, are absconding.

In 2006, the choice of Malegaon as target was made by RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, Dhan Singh is learnt to have told NIA interrogators. In 2008, the leadership of the group had apparently passed on to Ramji, Joshi having been murdered in Dewas on December 29, 2007.

Dhan Singh is learnt to have told investigators that Ramji summoned him to the Manavtha Nagar flat and told him to leave for Godhra immediately. Ramji allegedly escorted Dhan Singh to the Indore bus depot, from where the latter travelled to the Gujarat town, stopping once in between.

The next morning, Dhan Singh bumped into Amit at Godhra bus depot. Amit appeared to have reached before him. Dhan Singh also saw Ramji from a distance, walking towards the local bazaar, sources said.

Over the next three hours, the three men visited several mosques in the area. They came face to face on several occasions, but did not, like in Malegaon two years ago, speak to each other.

On September 29, 2008, two days before Eid, two bombs exploded at the same time at Malegaon and Modasa, killing 8 people. The reason why the plan to attack Godhra was aborted remains under investigation.

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