Malegaon, Ajmer, Hyderabad blasts... Joining the dots

Malegaon blast

During the initial days of the probe into the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast, investigators had found that while the perpetrators had used a stolen numberplate on the motorcycle on which the bomb was planted, they had also used a 'hand grinder' to try and erase its alphanumeric chassis number. Long hours and days were spent combing through the layers of the metal body to finally figure out the actual number.

When the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) team reached the office of LML, which had manufactured the two-wheeler, they were told that the company had stopped manufacturing the model in 2006 and that there were about 3.5 lakh units at the time across the country. The search for the owner of the bike eventually took them to Surat, to the house of Chandrapal Singh Thakur.

Thakur said that the motorcycle actually belonged to his daughter. Even as they sat in his house, they were curious about the identity of the woman. As the team struggled with the idea that they might be on the verge of discovering a rare woman terror conspirator, they found that this woman was also a Sadhvi, something the team found a "little too much to handle".

Phone calls were made — the officers to their seniors and Thakur to his daughter who was told to reach home immediately. But Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, now one of the main conspirators of the 2008 Malegaon blast, went straight to Indore, Madhya Pradesh — the same city where all the new investigation trails are now leading in connection with the 2007 Ajmer dargah blast.

This April, when the Rajasthan ATS made its first arrests in the Ajmer blast case — a similar nexus emerged. Another investigation down south in Hyderabad, in the May 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case, is also indicating links to Indore and the Hindu extremists it seems to have spawned.

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