Friday, November 28, 2008

Mysterious Killing of Hemant Karkare in Mumbai Terror.

Mubashir Inayet wrote:

Seems a bit speculatory to me. According to Mr. Tarek elements within ISI (or LET) got ticked off and set the whole thing up.


Dear Mubashir Sahab,

A valiant Indian Police Officer Hemant Karkare died in Mumbai yesterday and it was a targetted killing. I wonder how the hell it was possible to kill him in such rumpus and very precisely? Late Police Officer was conducting the enquiry of Indian Army Officers involved in Terrorism within India:

Friday, 28 November 2008

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 48, Dated Dec 06, 2008


‘There is enough evidence against Col Purohit; we will present it in court’

ATS chief Hemant Karkare told RANA AYYUB, shortly before his death in the Mumbai terror attacks, that more army officers will not be arrested

The 2008 Malegaon blasts investigations have, for the first time, linked the right wing organisations to terrorist acts in the country. ATS Joint commissioner Hemant Karkare was spearheading the investigation. In an interview with TEHELKA, he had clarified the ATS stand on the conflicting reports that have been trickling out regarding the investigations.

The investigator Hemant Karkare insisted that there is no political pressure on him or his team Photo: DEEPAK SALVI

Reports suggest that VHP strongman Pravin Togadia funded Abhinav Bharat, the organisation which is allegedly involved in the Malegaon blasts? Has this been confirmed?

There was a reference to his name during the investigation, but that has nothing to do with the Malegaon blasts investigations of 2008. At this point of time, we are only looking into the 2008 blasts.

Will Pravin Togadia be questioned, since his name has also cropped up in the narco tests done on the accused in the Nanded blasts of 2006?

No, as of now there is no evidence against him. As I said earlier, we are looking at only the Malegaon blasts, so there is no question of interrogating Pravin Togadia.

Reports suggest the involvement of high-profile seers in the Malegaon blasts. Has the ATS got proof of this?

We are not looking at seers or saints in relation to the Malegaon blasts. We are not looking at people from a particular community when we question them. We are just detaining people on the basis of evidence. As for Dayanand Pandey, he has proclaimed himself to be a seer. There are a lot of people going around claiming to be saints.

Was Swami Aseemanand from Dangs involved in other blasts, including the one at Ajmer, as reports suggest?

A reference has been made to his name during the investigations, we cannot divulge much at this stage. These people might not have been seers. Aseemanand could also have taken the garb of a seer.

While presenting its case, the ATS said that there was a possibility of those arrested in the Malegaon blasts case also being involved in the blasts that took place in the Marathwada region in 2006. Is there evidence to prove this? Has the ATS been able to link those arrested to other blasts?

There are agencies that have been looking at the various links, namely the CBI, which has been looking at the Malegaon blasts of 2006. The link we found is that of Rakesh Dhawre. He is a Pune-based counterfeit arms dealer who was involved in the training that took place for the blasts of 2006. He is the common link between the 2006 blasts including the ones in Purna and Parbhani, and the 2008 Malegaon blasts. Investigating agencies are working on it.

There are reports that police officials from other states have been coming to interrogate those arrested by the ATS. Is that true?

Yes, police officials from other states have been coming but that’s something which is protocol in such cases. They wanted to know of the modus operandi so that they could figure out if there are similarities to other blasts, in Andhra Pradesh and Chandigarh. What they found out is something only they will be able to tell you.

The ATS made a flip-flop on the links of those arrested with the Samjhauta blasts, which raised questions when it found no mention in the remand copy.

A lot has been made of the Samjhauta Express statement that was made by the public prosecutor in the case. There was a statement made by the witness that Purohit helped in the procurement of RDX. That was a part of the case diary. It cannot be taken as gospel truth. What was wrong was the mention of the same to the media, although we had said that there is no such evidence of the same.

The BJP has targeted the ATS for its investigations. Has there been any political pressure?

We are here to do our job as an investigating agency and bring out the truth. Having said that, it’s baseless to say that we are working under political pressure. There is absolutely no pressure on me or my officials. We are doing our best to bring the truth out.

Abhinav Bharat has come out as having played a key role. Is the ATS planning to question Himani Savarkar, its founder member?

We look at individuals and not organisations when we carry out our investigations. We are not looking at Abhinav Bharat, we are looking at the individuals involved. We have not questioned Himani Savarkar so far, and as yet, there is no evidence against her.

There are reports that an ATS team has left for Delhi. Is it true?

No, it’s absolutely untrue.

There were also reports that the army was not cooperating with the ATS with regards to information on Col Purohit and his leave records?

I would like to clear this. The army has given cooperation to the ATS right from day one on every aspect of the interrogation. There have been reports that the army has not been cooperating with the ATS and that’s absolutely untrue. The army gave us his leave records and other documents, which we needed.

Is the ATS looking at arresting more army officials?

No, we are not looking at arresting or detaining any more army officials in the case.

Most of the accused have alleged that they have been subjected to physical and mental torture.

We are doing our duty as investigating agencies. Such allegations come during the course of investigations. But they are untrue. We cannot do anything about such allegations

Can Purohit and Dayanand Pandey be called the key conspirators in the Malegaon blasts? Is this evident from the narco tests of the accused?

We are yet to get the narco reports. There is evidence against Purohit, but we can’t reveal anything at this stage

As the findings of narco tests are not admissible in court, does the ATS have substantial proof to nail the accused in the case?

The ATS has been carrying out investigations. We have enough evidence against the people we have arrested and we will present it in court.

There has been a report that Purohit and Dayanand Pandey had conspired to kill RSS veterans like Mohan Bhagwat and Indreesh. What do you have to say on this? Have those arrested confessed to the same? The name of Delhi-based doctor RP Singh too has cropped up during the course of investigations. Does the ATS have evidence suggesting his involvement?

The name of RP Singh came up during the investigation of Dayanand Pandey. I can’t reveal much about it at this stage. As for the assassination of RSS leaders, some references had emerged but they can’t be linked to any organisation.

Are more arrests likely to be made by the ATS in the Malegaon blasts? Do you also see the involvement of Hindu organisations like the Bajrang Dal, RSS, and Sanatan Sanstha in various terror acts in the country?

The ATS had filed a chargesheet against the Sanatan Sanstha in a different case, but there is no proof to link organisations as yet with the blasts. We are just looking at individuals.

Does the arrest of seers and armymen in terror acts suggest a trend?

Col Purohit was just an aberration. Just because one man has been arrested it does not mean that the entire army is tainted. Tomorrow, you cannot blame the entire police force just because one officer is arrested.

Have some other names cropped up during the investigations of the accused? Has the name of Nitin Joshi, one of the key members of the Abhinav Bharat, cropped up?

At the moment we are looking for Shyam Apte and Ramji, who have been named in the investigations. They played an important role and are absconding.

Malegaon: Purohit involved in Samjhauta Express blast too?

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Nashik, Nov 16 (IANS) Malegaon bomb blast accused Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit was Saturday further remanded in police custody till Nov 18 to facilitate investigations into new leads pointing to his possible involvement in last year’s Samjhauta Express bomb blast in Haryana state.

Special public prosecutor Ajay Misar told the chief judicial magistrate’s court here that Purohit as an army officer was in charge of 60 kg RDX in the Deolali army camp near Nashik during his posting there in 2006 and that some of the explosive material was supplied to Bhagwan Das, an absconding accused in the Samjhauta Express blast.

A witness to the RDX theft in the Deolali camp is present in Nashik, Misar said.

As many as 68 passengers, including some Pakistani nationals, were killed in the blast that took place inside the running train Feb 18, 2007, 90 km north of Delhi in Haryana state, Misar recalled.

Earlier, the army officer was brought from Mumbai for court apparance on expiry of his 10-day police custody remand.

Seeking a three-day extension of Purohit’s demand, Misar told Judge H.K. Ganatra that new leads have emerged from the army officer’s interrogation and narco-analysis test conducted on him in Bangalore.

The leads need to be probed in conjunction with the interrogation of self-proclaimed Sharada Sarvadnya Peeth Shankaracharya Swami Amritanand alias Dayanand Pandey, who was Friday remanded in police custody till Nov 26, the special public prosecutor said.

Purohit’s counsel Avinash Bhide opposed the demand for extended police remand, arguing that it was being sought only because the investigating agency was not been able to get any evidence to prove the army officer’s involvement in the crime during his 10-day custody.

The judge disposed of a complaint of Purohit’s torture filed by his kin after examining x-ray and other medical examination reports obtained from Bangalore Army Hospital, which did not corroborate the charge.

Purohit himself answered in the negative when the court asked him whether he was tortured in the police custody.

Meanwhile, a team of the Haryana police Saturday interrogated Pandey in connection with the Samjhauta Express blast. The interrogation was held in the Mumbai headquarters of Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

Prosecutor in Malegaon blast case gets threat to life

Nashik, Nov 16 (IANS) Special public prosecutor Ajay Misar, appearing for the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra police in the Malegaon bomb blast case, Saturday lodged a complaint with the police here that he has received threat to his life.

Misar in his complaint told city police chief Himanshu Roy that the threat call received from a public phone booth, with number 699132, said: "Hum tumhara, Hemant Karkare (Mumbai joint police commissioner in-charge of the ATS) ka aur Mohan Kulkarni (senior ATS officer) ka game karenge (We will kill you, Hemant Karkare and Mohan Kulkarni)."

As many as 12 hardline Hindutva activists, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt. Col Prasad Purohit and self-proclaimed Shankaracharya Dayanand Pandey have so far been arrested by the Maharashtra ATS for their alleged involvement in the Sep 29 Malegaon bomb blast in which six people were killed.

VHP to launch campaign to protest Malegaon blast arrests

Mumbai, Nov 16 (IANS) The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Saturday said it would launch a campaign to counter what it termed as the government’s conspiracy against ‘sadhus, sadhvis and sena’ (mendicants and military) and to express solidarity with those arrested for the Malegaon blast.

VHP joint secretary V. Abdeo said here that besides sit-in and demonstrations across the country, the VHP activists would send SMSes and e-mails abroad too to air solidarity with the people nabbed for their suspected involvement in the Sep 29 Malegaon blast that killed six.

Cautioning the state and the central governments against hurting the sentiments of the monks and the military, Abdeo told mediapersons here that the investigations into the Malegaon blast are nothing but “appeasement of the Muslim community”.

On the arrests of Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur, alias 'Purnachetanandagiri', Lt. Col. Prasad S. Purohit and Swami Amritanand alias Sudhakar Dwivedi and others, Abdeo alleged the arrests were "part of a well-thought out campaign to appease the Muslims prior to the elections”.

He also accused the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of going allout to "please" the Congress-led governments at the state and the centre.

Abdeo claimed that Sadhvi Pragnya was picked up from her home Oct 10 but her arrest was shown as Oct 24. Similarly, Shivnarayan Kalsangra was picked up Oct 18 but shown as arrested Oct 24, Ajay Rahirkar was caught Oct 26 and arrested only Nov 3.

He said that after the Sadhvi, the ATS has now trained its guns on Swami Asimananda of Dangs region in Gujarat. “What is his fault? He has only prevented conversion of Hindus,” he said.

Abdeo alleged that the accused are being “physically and mentally tortured in custody and the rights due to an accused in custody are not bestowed on them by the ATS".

Purohit supporters demonstrate before Nashik court

Nashik, Nov 16 (IANS) Nearly 350 volunteers of an organisation called Hindu Rashtra Sena were rounded up by the police here Saturday after they demonstrated in front of a court in support of Malegaon bomb blast accused Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit.

The activists, holding saffron flags and shouting slogans like "Purohit aage badho, hum tumhare saath hai” (Carry on Purohit, we are with you) and “Malegaon to jhanki hai, aur bahot kuch baaki hai” (Malegaon was just a trailer, much else is in store), had arrived here from Mumbai to express solidarity with the accused, sources in the little known Hindu Rashtra Sena said.

The army officer, who is alleged to have trained the other accused in handling explosives and procuring RDX for the Sep 29 blast, was presented to the court by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra police after his police custody peruiod expired.

Activists of the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who had staged demonstrations in front of the court when accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur was brought before it, did not turn up this time.

Six people were killed in the low-intensity blast in the Maharashtra town of Malegaon on the night of Sep 29.

Radical Hindu terror plot in unsolved bombings?

By Murali Krishnan

New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) More arrests are expected in the coming weeks as the frightening dimensions of a radical Hindu terror plot start to unravel, with investigators indicating that it had the makings of a larger conspiracy and planning of reprisal killings of Muslims for serial bombings in a number of Indian cities.

Ten people, including a self-proclaimed Hindu seer and a serving lieutenant colonel, have so far been arrested for the Sep 29 bombing in a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood in the small Maharashtra town of Malegaon that killed five people. Investigators are now examining if a Hindu terror conspiracy was involved in several other blasts - like the one of the Samjhauta Express train in 2007 - that have till date remained unsolved.

The Anti-Terrorism Squad's (ATS) arrest of Mahant Amritanand Dev alias Dayanand Pandey, the self-styled pontiff from Kanpur, which investigators say is a "prize catch", has already revealed that it was under his instructions that Lt. Colonel Shrikant Purohit procured RDX from an army depot that was used in the Malegaon blast.

"Pandey was present in all the pre-blast meetings in Bhopal, Jabalpur and Faridabad, monitored operations meticulously and was also responsible for arranging the finances that came in through illegal channels," an ATS source told IANS.

Investigators are now questioning the suspects on the May 2007 blast at Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, the attack on the Samjhauta Express train between India and Pakistan in February 2007 and the April 2006 twin blasts at New Delhi's Jama Masjid.

"Not much headway has been made into the investigations in these attacks. We need to examine if a similar radical Hindu fringe could have been behind these bombings and that is under the scanner now," said a senior intelligence official, who could not be named because of the sensitivity of his position.

“We could see more arrests in the coming days but that will depend on whether we can get sufficient evidence.”

It is believed that Pandey, a dropout from the National Defence Academy, was in touch with two other accused who are on the run - Ramji Kalsangara, who allegedly planted the motorcycle owned by the Hindu ascetic Pragya Singh Thakur in Malegaon, and Sameer Dange.

In the Mecca Masjid blasts as many as 14 people were killed and over 50 injured. The case was investigated by the city police special wing and was later handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation which could not come to any conclusion. There were some remote indications of Bangladesh-based terror outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami's involvement.

Investigations into the Samjhauta Express explosion, in which at least 68 people were killed, and the Jama Masjid blast also failed to make headway and police could not across on any tangible leads.

Police have already established a strong link between Pandey and some of the suspects in the Kanpur blast case through surveillance - on Aug 24, two members of the right-wing Bajrang Dal were killed there while assembling bombs.

“With his (Pandey) arrest we will now get to the bottom of this case and see if there are linkages as well in the 2006 Nanded blasts in Maharashtra,” said a senior police official.

Unearthing this terror network has indicated a major course correction for police, who had blamed Islamic terrorists for a wave of bombings that have killed more than 145 people targeting cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Jaipur this year.

The arrests have reinforced growing suspicions over the last few years of a potential threat from Hindu extremists.

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