Purohit planned Israel-based Hindu govt-in-exile, support from Thai contacts: ATS chargesheet today

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    The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chargesheet in the Malegaon blast case claims that as per statements from the accused the town was singled out for the blast as "it was the ideal place where the Muslim community crowd was the maximum" and that prime accused Lt Col Prasad Purohit had told fellow conspirators it was time to set up a parallel, Hindu government-in-exile which could operate out of Israel and ensure a completely sashastra (armed) India.

    Purohit, according to the chargesheet, promised "all logistic help" with finances from several quarters and support from some of his contacts in Thailand.

    The ATS chargesheet, which includes two important confession statements, statements of witnesses under Section 164, laptop records, telephonic records, detailed SMSes and financial transactions across states, will be filed tomorrow in the designated MCOCA court chaired by sessions judge Y D Shinde.

    The ATS will tell the court how a group called Abhinav Bharat became a "front organisation" for a conspiracy which led to an explosion at 9.26 pm on September 29, 2008 at Bhikku Chowk, Malegaon. While all eleven accused have been charged with conspiracy, logistics and execution of the blast, the key roles, according to the ATS, were those of Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Sudhakar Dardwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey.

    This will be the first case where a probe has been able to reach the conspirators — unlike other cases where only those who planted bombs have been arrested. In this case, the alleged bomb planters — Sameer Dange, Ramji Kalsangra — and Pravin Patil, another on the wanted list, remain at large. Patil also used the cover name of Mutalik and is a close aide of Purohit.

    While the forensic finding of the chassis and engine number of the motorcycle used in the blast — it was a Gujarat registration number GJ-05-1920, owned by Pragya Singh Thakur — led the ATS to Gujarat, it was the statements of witnesses and the forensic report that helped the ATS build a strong case.

    The ATS chargesheet has relied heavily on the statement of Sudhakar Chaturvedi (37), the last to be arrested, who said Purohit had called him on September 17, asking him to give the keys of his house in Deolali to a person named Pawar. According to the ATS, Pawar handed the keys to Ramji Kalsangra who along with some others used the house to assemble the bomb that was eventually used in Malegaon.

    The ATS team took a picture of Ramji to the locality where Chaturvedi stayed. Two witnesses identified him and confirmed that Ramji did come to the house. A search of the house revealed remains of items used in making the bomb — this was verified by a forensic team. Evidences include recordings from the laptop of Sudhakar Dardwivedi which also has footage of various meetings.

    Of the arrested, it is Rakesh Dataram Dhavde's involvement in the conspiracy that led the ATS to slap MCOCA charges against all ten accused. Pragya Singh's telephonic conversations recorded with accused Shyam Sahu immediately after the blasts will be included in the chargesheet.

    According to the ATS, the Abhinav Bharat, a group founded on June 12, 2006 in Raigad where Shivaji was coronated, initially had retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay in the role of working president. Later, under the control of Purohit, it became the "front for an agenda of creating a Hindu Rajya".

    While the "anger and the determination" to create a parallel government which "gives power to Hindus" can be seen in the records of the many meetings that transpired between the accused, the ATS says that it was at a meeting in Bhopal where the conspiracy for Malegaon was hatched. Purohit was said to have convinced the group that the time had come for a parallel government — and he detailed the idea of a bomb blast.The group, according to many statements of the accused, was told about possible safe houses in Israel from where the conspirators could operate once their ideology took root and their numbers increased.

    According to the ATS, Pragya Singh promised "two of her men" from Gujarat. Upadhyay and Pune-based Ajay Rahirkar played key roles in logistics, conspiracy meetings and finances while Sudhakar and Sameer Kulkarni, the ATS says, were active foot soldiers of Abhinav Bharat who were paid a monthly sum of Rs 5,000 and were called 'Chanakyas'.

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