Indian colonel linked to Samjhauta Express blasts

ISLAMABAD (APP) - Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad in India has claimed that a serving Army officer Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit, who was arrested in connection with the Malegaon blast, was also involved in 2007 Samjhauta blast. ATS said to the Nashik Court that the accused had used RDX to carry out the blast in which 68 people mostly Pakistanis were killed, Zee News reported. Putting an end to all speculations, the anti-terror branch of Mumbai Police said that Army RDX was used and not sourced from across the border. Purohit procured 60 kg of RDX from Jammu and Kashmir in the year 2006, a part of which is suspected to have been used in Samjautha Express train explosion and Malegaon blasts, Maharashtra police told the court on Saturday. But what is intriguing is that the investigation agency has no clue about the remaining RDX. This theory came in sharp contrast with the earlier investigation of Samjhauta blast, in which, it was concluded that not RDX, instead, IED and some liquid chemicals were used. Seeking extension of police custody of Purohit, special prosecutor for Maharashtra ATS Ajay Misar told the court that Purohit had believed to have 60 kgs of RDX in his possession, which he had got from Jammu and Kashmir. Purohit gave a portion of the RDX to one Bhagwan who is suspected to have used in Samjhauta Express blast, Misar said. The RDX is also suspected to have been used in Malegaon bomb explosion on September 29 this year, due to which Purohit's interrogation is necessary, Misar told the court. Purohit, arrested in connection with Malegaon blast, was on Saturday produced before a Nashik Court, where ATS sought his further police custody in order to interrogate him thoroughly and the court granted it till November 18. Earlier, the Lt Colonel had said to the court that he was not ill-treated by ATS personnel as claimed by his family. The investigating team has found evidence he is closely linked to Hindu outfit Abhinav Bharat and conducted a training camp for the members of this outfit. The prosecutor Misar also informed the court they had found evidence of links between arrested Sadhvi Pragya Thakur Singh and recently arrested Guru Dayanand Pandey from Kanpur. Pandey had introduced Purohit to Ramji Kalsangra, who is wanted in the Malegaon blast. Our monitoring desk adds: Purohit, who was with Military Intelligence, had told the authorities that he had thrown RDX into the Jhelum River, the special counsel said. However, it is suspected that he transported the RDX to Deolali in Nashik, he said. The ATS also told the court that it was investigating the source of the RDX. During his narco-analysis test in Bangalore last week, Lt-Col Purohit had confessed to his role in the Malegaon blast. Earlier, sources told NDTV that Purohit confessed that he wanted to take revenge against a particular community. These tests, though not admissible in court, could throw up vital clues for investigators. Purohit revealed that sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Swami Dayanand Pandey, who are now under arrest, were also involved in planning the attack. Purohit met the sadhvi through Pandey. He also said that Pandey was also involved in the Ajmer and Nanded blasts where more than 500 people were trained to carry out the attacks. Pandey is now emerging as a key link as the ATS told the court that Pandey fixed the meeting between Purohit and Ramji Kalsangra. The ATS also said that Pandey told Purohit to arrange for explosives and received money from Abhinav Bharat treasurer. The public prosecutor told the court that they had found evidence of links between arrested Sadhvi Pragya Thakur Singh and religious leader Dayanand Pandey arrested in Kanpur.

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