Malegaon man ran into ‘bomber’ before blasts; soon he was dead

FP

On September 27, 2006, the body of 38-year-old Azhar Parvez was found behind his home in Malegaon. Both his wrists were slit, there was a gash behind his left ankle, and the autopsy showed he had died of excessive bleeding. It was quickly surmised that Azhar, who was financially stressed and battling cancer, had committed suicide.

There was just one curious thing.

In the days before he died, Azhar had told several people, including the local maulvi, that he could identify one of the men who had planted the bombs that killed 31 people and wounded 300 in Malegaon over two weeks earlier, on September 8.

Yet, no red flag went up, and police closed the file on Azhar's death no sooner than they had opened it.

More than six years after Azhar's death on the night of September 26, 2006, the case is set to be re-investigated. Investigators say evidence has come to light suggesting that he may have been killed because he could have identified one of the bombers.

On September 8, the day of the blasts, Azhar had bumped into the man on the crowded streets of this small town, who had a bicycle with an attractive "mounted dickey". The dickey caught Azhar's eye, and he asked the man eager questions about where he had purchased it. He wanted to install a similar dickey on his son's new bicycle. The man, however, evaded Azhar and went hurriedly ahead without giving him an answer.

This man, investigators say, was Dhan Singh, who was arrested in Madhya Pradesh's Satna district on December 17, 2012. And the attractive bicycle carrier that caught Azhar's eye was where one of the bombs had been kept.

Over the past four weeks, Dhan Singh has told interrogators in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that he was involved in both bombings of Malegaon in September 2006 and September 2008, and in the blast at Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid in May 2007.

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