People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 36

September 14 , 2008


CBI's Cover Up Of Nanded Blasts

Below we give extracts from the questions/issues raised regarding the Nanded bomb blasts of April 4-5, 2006 in a note issued at the press conference addressed by film producer Mahesh Bhatt, Justice (Retd.) B G Kolse Patil, former DGP of Gujarat R B Sreekumar and anti-communal activist Teesta Setalvad in New Delhi on August 28, 2008.

(A) The Nanded bomb blasts of April 4-5, 2006 that took place at the residence of Laxman Rajkondwar, a RSS worker killed two persons, Naresh Rajkondwar and Himanshu Panse, active workers of the Bajrang Dal and the VHP. Investigations by the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) Maharashtra revealed that active workers of the Bajrang Dal had been assembling bombs to target Muslims places of worship, camouflaging their entire operation to resemble a terror operation run by Muslims. Laxman Gundayya Rajkondwar, in whose house the bombs were being manufactured and whose son Naresh died in the explosion, is an RSS man. Diaries, important documents, suspicious maps and mobile telephone numbers that were also unearthed from the houses of the accused incriminated them further.

(B) The guilty tried to cover up operations but through the six month long ATS investigations, a sinister terror network stretching from Pune to Maharashtra was unravelled. The CBI chargesheet filed in March 2008 that took Setalvad over three months to access is nothing short of an Operation Cover UP. The CBI waters down the entire terror trail and links to former military schools located in Maharashtra where former military men are training Bajrang Dal youth.

(C) The ATS had uncovered a dangerous terrorist network. Its investigations revealed that the bomb blasts at Parbhani, Jalna, Purna and Nanded were no ordinary crimes with simple motives. Involved in each of them were activists of the Bajrang Dal who had sought and received systematic training from experts in bomb-making and bomb explosion. Their insidious acts of terror at mosques include not just planting the bombs but also disguising themselves as Muslims while committing the crimes.

(D) The ATS investigations further revealed that it was not just a handful but as many as three dozen Bajrang Dalis from all over Maharashtra who received training in Pune while more than a hundred of them from all over India were similarly trained at the Bhonsale Military School in Nagpur. While the Pune camp was organised by the Bajrang Dal, the Nagpur one was organised by its parent body, the RSS. And while those directly involved in lobbing the bombs were Bajrang Dal members, there are clear indications that the RSS and the VHP also form part of the nexus. The men who imparted this training to the Dal’s cadres included retired officers of the country’s military and intelligence services.

(E) The two ATS chargesheets accuse 11 persons of being part of a criminal conspiracy involving terrorist acts: a very serious charge against all of them. But the CBI did not even consider the possibility of such a conspiracy. CBI in glaring contrast to the ATS approach, simply refused to explore the forward or backward linkages to the accidental explosion at Laxman Rajkondwar’s house in April 2006 except to the very limited extent of naming those who sheltered the injured fugitive, Rahul Pande, from the police or gave him surreptitious medical help.

(F) Laxman G Rajkondwar, the owner of house where the explosion took place, who, according to the ATS chargesheet, was as involved in the crime as his deceased son, has been let off the hook. (Investigators found that firecrackers worth Rs 1,20,000 had been illegally stored at the site. Such a large quantity of highly combustible material would undoubtedly have blown up in the blast. Thus the only inference one can make is that the stock of fireworks was put in place after the blasts as a subterfuge.) How did the CBI allow Laxman Rajkondwar to go scot-free?

(G) The ATS interrogations and other investigations revealed that Nanded 2006 was only one episode in a diabolical terrorist plot involving a nefarious network of Bajrang Dal activists functioning with covert support from other wings of the sangh parivar. Ignoring this the CBI’s chargesheet treats the Nanded incident as an isolated case so that the trial, which is conducted on the basis of the chargesheet, does not even examine the possible existence of a terrorist network in Maharastra.

(H) Why did the ATS not apply the provisions of MCOCA (a law routinely applied in terror related cases) to the accused when according to its own findings the accused were implicated in terrorist acts?

(I) Contrary to the findings of the ATS, the CBI does not utter a word about the links the accused persons had with the RSS, the Bajrang Dal and the VHP. Why?

(J) The ATS investigation clearly establishes the existence of a terrorist nexus operating under the wider sangh parivar umbrella. The CBI should have followed this up after it took charge of the case. What is the real agenda of the Bhonsala Military School in Nagpur? Who owns and runs the Akanksha Resort in Pune? Is it linked in some way with the Bajrang Dal/VHP/RSS? Who among the RSS/VHP were involved and where in Goa were the Bajrang Dal activists trained? Who are the financiers, trainers (Mithun Chakraborty and Sanatkumar Ragvithal Bhate) and other individuals who actively participated, either directly or indirectly, in perpetrating terror attacks? Who are the retired officers of the military and intelligence services who provided martial arts and military training to Bajrang Dal activists? Why have officers who during their professional careers swore to serve secular- democratic India now chosen to place themselves at the services of Hindu extremists?

(K) For reasons best known to itself the CBI has not followed up on the leads that the ATS investigation provided.

(L) The CBI not only chose to completely disregard the information gathered by the ATS through narco tests conducted on four of the accused, but also gave little credence to the incriminating material seized during house searches and the admissions of some of the accused during interrogation. If the CBI had acted as it should, it would have applied for the earlier cases of bomb blasts by several of those accused in the Nanded blasts (in mosques in Parbhani, Jalna and Purna in 2003 and 2004) to be clubbed together and prosecuted as part of a wider conspiracy.

(M) The findings of the ATS leave little room for doubt that the Bajrang Dal falls well within the Act’s definition of a “terrorist gang”. To pursue this line of investigation the CBI would no doubt have needed to follow up on the leads provided by the ATS. But, as mentioned earlier, it was disinclined to even consider the option.