Samjhauta probe: RSSs Indresh to be questioned again

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 8 2011, 07:53am hrs
Expanding the ambit of the probe into the 2007 attack on the Samjhauta Express, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are learnt to be considering a joint questioning of RSS leader Indresh Kumar in connection with the blasts.

The move for fresh questioning he was first summoned on December 23 by CBI comes after Kumars name figures in one of the main accused Swami Aseemanands statement to a magistrate in Delhi on December 18.

Aseemanand, who is under NIA custody, is said to have confessed to his involvement in the Samjhauta blasts and said that he was aware of other incidents including the Mecca Masjid blasts. On the night of February 18, 2007, near Panipat, 68 people were killed when bombs were set off in two coaches of the Samjhauta Express. Most of the killed were Pak nationals.

In his statement, Aseemanand says: We (Sunil Joshi, Pragya Thakur and three others) met at the house of Bharat Bhai in Valsad in June 2006...Sunil Joshi advised that we should plant bombs in Samjahuta Express which ferries between India and Pakistan as most of the Pakistani travel on it..... Sandeep Dangre took the responsibility of arranging chemicals for the Samjhauta blast... Three groups were formed where I was asked to arrange for the finance while Dangre was tasked to manufacture bombs...In February 2007, I met Bharat Bhai and Joshi at a temple in Balpur where Joshi told me that soon I will hear good news...Later when I went to Bharat Bhais house where Joshi and Pragya Singh were already present, I came to know that a blast in Samjhauta has al eady taken place.

Joshi was murdered in December 2007. Joshi claimed to have taken orders and logistical support from Indresh Kumar, claimed Aseemanand.

But his court-appointed lawyer Manvir Rathee, who is representing him in a Panchkula (Haryana) court against NIA, expressed doubts over the statement. He said he had spoken to Aseemanand on January 3. He told me he had been taken to a Delhi court for recording his statement. He continued to deny any hand in the blasts and said he had been forced to make a confessional statement. Let the trial begin, said Rathee.

The investigative agencies move to call Kumar again is likely to mount further pressure on the Opposition BJP which is set to deliberate over this issue at its national executive meet commencing in Guwahati from tomorrow.

Deploring Sangh terrorism, the Congress on Friday stopped short of seeking a ban on the RSS with its spokesman Shakeel Ahmed saying: Ban it or disband it but take firm action. New facts have come to light and the government should definitely take action after examining them.

According to the statement which Tehelka magazine said it had posted on its website, Aseemanand claimed: Indreshji met at Shabri Dham sometime in 2005. He was accompanied by many RSS functionaries where he told me that exploding bombs was not my job and instead told me that other RSS pracharak and Hindu radicals to carry out the strikes. The move to jointly quiz Kumar comes days after CBI wrote to the home ministry asking them to share information between ATS Jaipur and Mumbai probing the Ajmer and Malegaon blasts. The CBI wrote the letter after the first round of questioning was done after the arrest of Aseemanand on December 23.

Kumar is also the common link in all key cases as his names figures in the confessions of the arrested accused in Malegaon (Lt Col S Purohit) and Ajmer blasts (Devendra Gupta), said an official.