NIA visits ’08 Malegaon blast links with ’06 suspect

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has begun retracing the reported trips of a Malegaon inverter dealer to Nashik, Ujjain, Indore and Devas before he was arrested in connection with the 2006 Malegaon bomb blasts as these cities are alleged to be strongly connected to the 2008 bomb blast in the textile town which has been blamed on Hindu extremists.

The man, Abrar Ahmed, claims he had heard a few men in a doctor's cabin discussing names of the conspirators behind the blasts when he had gone to the Medicare Hospital in Malegaon to help the injured after the September 8, 2006 blasts.

He shared this with his wife, two brothers-in-law and the Nashik SP before he went "missing" for 86 days. He resurfaced when the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested him, accusing him of being one of the bomb planters.

He turned an approver only to retract his statements later. In a court statement, he had denied his role in the blasts and alleged that he was "held captive" by the police and taken to several places during the time he was "missing".

With Hindu extremists suspected to be behind the 2006 blasts as well, the NIA is revisiting Ahmed's claims. Last month, Ahmed narrated to the NIA the sequence of events during those days before his arrest and even took NIA officers to the exact locations he was allegedly taken to by Nashik police officers.

The NIA also plans to take him to Ujjain, Devas and Indore, which along with Nashik are named in the 2008 Malegaon blast chargesheet as the cities in which the accused met to conspire.

"In Nashik, the NIA was shocked when I took them to the police quarters - one of the places where I was held captive," Ahmed told The Sunday Express. A senior NIA officer said Ahmed is a "confusing but intriguing" aspect in the probe.

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