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Mahant played major role: ATS

Rahi Gaikwad

“He had close ties with the suspects”

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare told a press conference here on Wednesday that Dayanand Pandey alias Mahant Amritanand detained for questioning in Uttar Pradesh in connection with the Malegaon blasts had a major role in the conspiracy.

He had close ties with the suspects arrested so far and was part of several meetings, Mr. Karkare said. The “conspiracy” meetings were held in Indore, Deolali, Bhopal and Nashik among other places, he alleged.

The ATS had Mr. Pandey’s mobile numbers and photographs. His name came up during the investigation of other suspects, namely Ajay Rahirkar.

Mr. Karkare refuted media reports that four narco tests were done on sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur and said only one had been conducted.

There is no clarity yet on the specific roles of the nine suspects who are in ATS custody, including key suspect Purohit. There is also no confirmation whether the RDX used in the blasts was military grade.

Aides questioned

PTI reports from Jammu:

Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday questioned two aides of the mahant but claimed “nothing adverse” was found against the father and son duo.

Chartered accountant V.K. Kapoor and his son Pawan, close to seer Dayanand Pandey, were interrogated for one hour, SP, Jammu (South), Mubassir Laitifi said.

However, the duo were let off as “nothing adverse” was found against them, he added.

He said the mahant used to stay with the Kapoors whenever he visited Jammu. Police searched the house and offices of Mr. Kapoor and Mr. Pawan and seized records at the posh Trikuta Nagar area of the city.

“We are still waiting for communication from the Maharashtra ATS,” Inspector General of Police K. Rajendra, Jammu, said.

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