People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIII

No. 5

February 15, 2009

 

The ATS Chargesheet In Malegaon Blast Conspiracy


Teesta Setalvad


ON September 29, 2008 there was a bomb explosion in a crowded place, opposite Shakil Goods Transport Company, between Anjuman Chowk and Bhiku Chowk, Malegaon. The said blast took place by an explosive device fitted on LML Freedom motorcycle bearing number MH-15-4572. As a result of the explosion six persons were killed and 101 were injured with various degrees of injuries and causing damage to property worth Rs, 4,23,500-00.The IED was assembled using RDX, Ammonium Nitrate, Ammonium Nitrite.


The final aim of the conspirators was to “propagate a separate Hindu Rashtra with its own constitution and aims, and with Bharat Swarajya, Surajya, Suraksha in its preamble.” It adds that members of “this organised crime syndicate wanted to adopt a national flag i.e. solo-themed saffron flag with a golden border. The length of the flag would be twice its breadth with an ancient golden torch (bhagwa dhwaj).”


The charge sheet filed by the ATS runs into 4,528-pages. The charge sheet contains two confessional statements of accused Rakesh Dhawade and Dayanand Pandey, a list of 431 witnesses the prosecution wants to examine and forensic evidence. The ATS has produced telephone, audio and video transcripts running into hundreds of pages.


THE CONSPIRATORS


1. Pragyasingh Chandrapalsingh Thakur @ Swami Purnachetanand Giri, 38 years, from Madhya Pradesh (MP) living at Surat, Gujarat. Member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Durga Vahini and also a former member of ABVP closely associated with BJP leaders, participating in their election campaign meetings as well.


2. Shivnarayan Gopalsingh Kalsangra, 36 years, resident of Indore and from MP


3. Shyam Bhavarlal Sahu,42 years, from MP


4. Ramesh Shivji Upadhyaya, 57 years, Uttar Pradesh (the fact that he is also a retired officer of the Indian army is not mentioned in the chargesheet). He had organised camps and training modules to ideologically and physically draw young men into the violence.

5. Sameer Sharad Kulkarni, 39 years, resident of Pune but originally from Jalgaon Maharashtra. Former ABVP member. Revived the Abhinav Bharat in Pune. He worked at a Bhopal printing press for some time and was in charge of AB activities in Madhya Pradesh. He was arrested in October 2008.


6. Ajay @ Raja Eknath Rahirkar, 39 years (A-6), living at both Pune and Jalgaon Pune-based treasurer of Abhinav Bharat. Provided logistical, financial support to Kulkarni and Purohit.


7. Rakesh Dattatraya Dhawade @ Rao, 42 years, Pune district. He is named as an arms expert linked to Abhinav Bharat. He was arrested on Nov 2, 2008.

8. Jagdish Chintaman Mhatre, 40 years, Dombivli, Thane


9. Lt. Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit @ Balawant Rao @ Shreyak Ranadive/36 yrs, Pune and Panchmarhi, Mdhya Pradesh. He was detained on Oct 31, 2008. it is the first time that a serving army officer accused in a terror attack,. He is charged with provided training, coordinated the blasts, sourced funds, and arranging for the explosives. Being an officer he has assumed two names at least.


10. Sudhakar Udaybhan Dhar Dwivedi @ Dayanand Pandey @ Swami Amrutanand Devtirth @ Shankaracharya of Sharada Sarvagy Peeth, 40 years, native of Jammu living in UP. Self styled Dharma Guru who was arrested from Kanpur on November 12. He was also guru to the Sadhvi. There could be some links tobetween Dwivedi and the Kanpur blasts as also the Jammu agitation of 2008 over the Amarnath shrine.


11. Sudhakar Onkarnath Chaturvedi, 37 years, residing at Nasik originally from UP


WANTED ACCUSED


12. Ramchandra Gopalsingh Kalsangra, 38 years, from Indore Madhya Pradesh. The planter of the explosive at Malegaon. He was in touch with Sadhvi Pragya and allegedly coordinated the blasts.


13. Sandeep Vishwas Dange,Indore Madhya Pradesh


14. Pravin Mutalik, resident of Karnataka.


Sections Applied: Section. 302, 307, 326, 324, 427, 153-A, 153—A (1)(b), 120-B IPC r/w 3, 5, 25 Arms Act, r/w 3, 4, 5 of Explosive Substance Act, r/w 15, 16, 17, 18, 20 & 23 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (Amendment Act 2004) r/w 3 (1) (i), 3 (1) (ii) 3(2), 3(4), 3 (5) MCOC Act 1999.


The police is also on the lookout for Swami Aseemanand from Dangs in Gujarat has been absconding since the day news was leaked of the ATS hunt for him. If caught, several details about the plot might be revealed, along with possible links with the Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blasts and Samjhauta Express blasts


LOCATIONS OF MEETINGS


The terror ring had been holding meetings at various place i.e. Faridabad, Kolkata, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Indore, Nasik etc to plan their conspiracy under the banner of Abhinav Bharat that was also propagating its idea of a Hindu nation, take over by the army.


In July/August 2008, Purohit , accused number 9 paid Rs. 2,50,000/- through accused Ajay Rahirkar (accused 6) to one builder in Nasik from whom he had purchased a bungalow for himself. He misused the monies Thus arrested accused Prasad Shrikant Purohit got pecuniary gain by using the cash collected for Abhinav Bharat Trust for his personal aims.


In continuation of this larger conspiracy a meeting was held at Faridabad on January 25/26, 2008 in which accused Prasad Purohit, Ramesh Upadhyay, and Sudhakar Chaturvedi were present. In the said meeting it was agreed by accused Prasad Purohit (A-9) who took responsibility of providing explosives and whereas accused Sudhakar Chaturvedi took responsibility of providing two men for committing a blast in some place. Sudhakar Chaturvedi provided his premises at Vanat Chawl, Bhagur Road, Deolali Camp, Nasik for the purpose of assembling and storing the above said improvised device. The keys to the house of Chaturvedi were placed at the office of the Military Intelligence in the Deolali camp, Nasik. Purohit had asked Pravin Mutalik (absconding) to collect the key from the office of Military Intelligence at Deolali to enter into the house of accused Sudhakar Onkarnath Chaturvedi for the purposes of assembling the IED, which was finally used for exploding bombs at Malegaon.


In one such meeting held at Bhopal on April 11-12, 2008 the conspirators Pragyasingh Thakur Ramesh Upadhyay Sameer Kulkarni, accused Purohit Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pande and Sudhakar Chaturvedi along with others conspired together to take revenge against Muslims in Malegaon by exploding a bomb at thickly populated area. Prasad Purohit took the responsibility of providing explosives, accused Pragyasingh Thakur (A-1) took the responsibility of providing men for the explosion. It was at this meeting that all the participants agreed and consented to commit the explosion at Malegaon.


Around June 11, 2008, another meeting was held in the Circuit House at Indore. At this meeting accused Pragyasingh Thakur introduced Ramchandra Kalasangra (a wanted accused) and Sandip Dange (another witness) to accused Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi saying that both of these persons were her confidantes who have supported her always. Again sometime in the first week of July 2008, a meeting was held at Indore at which Pragyasingh Thakur asked accused Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi to direct the accused Shrikant Purohit to give the explosives to the wanted accused Ramji Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange at Pune.



CONSPIRACY UNRAVELLED


The ATS has held that all the accused persons were part of criminal conspiracy through holding meetings in different parts of Maharashtra and MP between January 2008 to 23 October 2008, the object of which was to do and cause to be done such illegal and unlawful activities for achieving the aforesaid objectives of the criminal conspiracy intentionally and knowingly participating in the crime.


The chargesheet also said that the crime syndicate is active since year 2003. The main member of this Organized Crime Syndicate, arrested accused Rakesh Dattatraya Dhawade (accused seven) has been active since 2003. Rakesh Dhawade was present at the oath taking ceremony of members of Abhinav Bharat at Raigad fort attended by both accused Prasad Purohit and Ajay Rahirkar (also retired from the army), and others in the year 2006. The same accused Rakesh Dattatraya Dhawade is involved in procuring the arms and ammunition for the said Organized Crime Syndicate to facilitate their unlawful activities. This organized crime syndicate of Rakesh Dhawade had been committing bomb blasts since year 2003. The present accused have joined the said Organized Crime Syndicate and have continued their unlawful activities for their advantage. This Organized Crime Syndicate has procured, acquired and transported the materials which are required to the bomb explosions and has also transferred huge amount of money, arms and ammunition for aiding and abetting unlawful activities. The chargesheet states that the criminal acts of this syndicate date back to at least 2003 and that these actions are often committed in areas thickly populated by the Muslim community. The justification for their acts is allegedly revenge for the acts committed by the Muslim community.


ARMY AND INTELLIGENCE LINKS

The first most dangerous trends revealed by the Nanded investigations and reconfirmed now with the Malegaon probe are regarding the involvement of both serving and retired officers of Indian intelligence and the army in training outfits that are ideologically opposed to the Indian Constitution, in the making of bombs, in generating terror and in spreading bitter communal poison.

Already a serving officer and four retired officers of the Indian armed forces have been shown up for their links in various recent acts of terror. The Malegaon chargesheet implicates Purohit and Upadhyaya as the accused. But Col (retd) S. Raikar, formerly of the Indian army and presently Commandant of Bhonsala Military School, Nashik, who provided the campus for training groups was questioned by the police but is spared in the ATS charge sheet. He has since resigned from the school.

The earlier Nanded chargesheet of 2006 related to the Nanded blasts implicates Sanatkumar Bhate in training members of the Bajrang Dal at Akankhsha resort, Pune. He was a former Indian naval officer. A legitimate question would be to probe how deep is the ideological infiltration into the Indian army of ideologies that wish to set up a religion based state, through violent means. The ATS does not mention the position or former positions held by some of these accused in the armed forces. It has stopped short of drawing the wider link between the network of terror that resulted in the Nanded blasts of 2006 and the Malegaon blasts. While it has mentioned the Parbhani and Jalna Mosque blasts in the wider conspiracy, Nanded is mysteriously absent. Is this because the presence of former naval officers in arms training of youth in anti-Constitutional conspiracies would be revealed? The ATS has also closed the question of involvement by any army officials by giving a clean chit to the army men who were questioned and naming them only as witnesses. At the earlier stages of the investigation, it had been revealed that the same officers implicated in these blasts held special trainings for the Maharashtra ATS. Is the silence of the ATS linked to what might be seen as an earlier nexus between the two involved in the cases subsequently?

In this probe, the ATS has also not questioned many of the co- conspirators who plotted a Hindutva takeover of the country. For instance, there is a reference to a two- time BJP parliamentarian, one Colonel Dhar and Delhi- based doctor R. P. Singh, who were actively engaged in giving shape to Purohit's idea of a " new nation". The probable links of the accused with others who are politically powerful today have not been further probed at all.

Purohit procured the RDX (Research Department Explosive) used in the blast during his military posting in Jammu and Kashmir. He stored it in his houses in Pune and Nashik. The transcript which is part of the charge sheet also implicates Purohit in at least two other similar incidents but the ATS charge sheet limits itself to the Malegaon incident alone In these transcripts he allegedly said, , "Main kuch baat kahunga isse pehle kabhi nahi kahi gayi thi. Do operation humne kiye, successful ho gaye. Operation karne ki meri kshamta hain, swamiji. Mere paas equipment ki kami nahi hain. Main equipment paida kar sakta hoon. Equipment la sakta hoon. Agar jab thaan leta hoon. Lekin target chun na yeh mere ek ke vishay ke hisaab nahi hona chahiye." (I will say something which I have not talked about before. We did two operations in the past and they were successful. I am capable of doing operations. I have no dearth of equipment. I can get equipment if I take it upon myself. But choosing the target should not be my decision alone)

BHONSLA MILITARY ACADEMY

AKANKSHA RESORT SPARED

The Bhonsla military academy located at two places in Maharashtra (Nasik and Nagpur) that was the location for training of cadres in bomb making and explosive use has escaped the ATS net. So has the Akankasha resort at the Singhad Fort, Pune where such explosive makings trainings even today takes place.

While some of its functionaries have been cited as witnesses, despite the fact one of them, Col (retd) S. Raikar (also from the Indian army) was serving as a Commandant of the Bhonsala Military School, Nashik and is accused of providing the campus for training groups, the institute has been given lenient treatment by the ATS he has only been made a witness.

MATERIALS USED

RDX was used in the IEDs exploded at Malegaon. The leakage and consequent availability of highly controlled and dangerous substances like the RDX into the market place for easy use by any outfits that wish to make a career out of bomb making. RDX is available only with the Indian army. There have been reported cases of RDX leakages in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana which have been treated casually by the state police.Gelatine sticks and ammonium nitrate, volatile substances used in the making of bombs in many instances are carefully controlled in law, and leakages from either the industrial or retail users should be very easy to trace. The fact that this has not been done, be it related to the blasts on the Samjhauta Express,Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Thane or Panvel, establishes the laxity in our probing agencies but worse, a cynically low premium on life itself by a political class, across party hues that has grown to using communalism of all shades to further electoral gains. ATS chargesheet into Malegaon avoids any investigation into this leakage.




THE MISSING MITHUN CHAKRABORTY


Malegaon investigations also reveal in the forensic laboratory reports that it was one Mithun Chakraborty, who while returning after training the recruits handed over a bag, containing large quantities of RDX, at Pune railway station. Invetsigators have concluded that this is an assumed name. Chakraborty is untraceable and a gaping link in ATS investigations.

The name of a mysterious trainer, Chakraborty, had surfaced during the interrogation and narco-analysis of Rahul Pande, a key suspect in the 2006 Nanded blast investigations, Pande had revealed that a tall, well-built man, identified as Chakraborty alias sir, was the main conspirator of the plot. Pande added that Chakraborty had trained right wing Hindu militants to prepare various types of bombs and improvised explosive devices. He has also procured and provided huge quantities of explosives to make more bombs.

ORGANISATIONS SPARED

What is Asbhinav Bharat? The ATS chargesheet tells us that the Abhinav Bharat is an organization floated in 2007. The ATS chargesheet claims this is not the same as the public charitable trust registered in the same name though its founder Himani Savarkar though she was present at one of the meetings held! She is also on record agreeing with the actions of the Malegaon accused justifying that “only bombs can reply to bombs.”


WHY WAS SECTION 125 NOT APPLIED?


The crime synidicate has also advocated the overthrow of the Indian republic bound by the Indian Constitution and its replacement with a Hindu nation run by the Army. The chilling dreams and visions of this syndicate are revealed in a 2,000 page transcript of video conversations that accompanies the chargesheet. The transcripts state that this vision and view has been advocated in public and secret meetings to fire youngsters into joining them. The ideology that drives the conspirators is rooted not just in present ‘retaliatory’ acts of bomb terror but to the foundation of the republic itself. The transcripts reveal extensive mobilisation of young cadres by the conspirators and others, in public, to generate anger against the Indian Constitution advocating overthrow of the Indian republic. If these acts do not amount to sedition what does?

Despite detailed transcripts of conversations between Purohit and others that reveal commitment to the overthrow of the Indian secular republic and creation of a militarized Hindu nation, section 125 the IPC (waging war against any Asiatic power in alliance with the government of India) has not been applied. Raghuvanshi, speaking to Communalism Combat has stated that he was concerned with creating a watertight case that could ensure convictions and not in outlining charges that could not be proved. We consulted senior public prosecutors who advised us that the ingredients of sedition were not present in the crime itself.

The relevant IPC Section has it that, “ Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by signs, or by visible representation or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life to which fine may be added.”

In law these acts amount to sedition and war against the Indian state. If it is proven that this war is being waged from the inside, from a section, not exactly small, of our army, and this fact has escaped the attention of the top echelons of the armed forces so far, it is logical to assume and conclude that the infiltration into our forces runs close and deep. Just as an ideologically fanatic ISI of Pakistan will have to shoulder more than a fair share of the responsibility, and blame for the disintegration of that country into violence and chaos, the trends that both Nanded and Malegaon reveal have the potential, if allowed to pass casually and unchecked, of driving India to serious disintegration, if not destruction.