ibnlive » India

Nov 25, 2008 at 01:58am IST

Malegaon blast: 5 more Army officers probed

New Delhi: Five more serving Army officers are being investigated in connection with the Malegaon blast in which 10 people are under arrest, top government sources tell CNN-IBN.

A serving Army officer, Lt Col Srikant Prasad Purohit, and a retired officer, Major Ramesh Upadhyay, are among the 10 people arrested in connection with the blast till now.

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The two military men are accused of training people and organizing explosives for the blast, which killed five people in the communally sensitive Maharashtra town on September 29.

CNN-IBN’s Meetu Jain reports the officers being investigated by the Director General of Military Intelligence, ATS and the Maharashtra Police. They are suspected of having helped Purohit in the blast and providing logistical support to the conspirators.

Sources tell CNN-IBN the Government’s worried at the shocking number of serving Army officers who appear to be involved with hardline Hindu groups.

The Army has called Purohit an “aberration” and said it would conduct internal checks on its personnel. “It was an aberration. We will ensure that it does not happen again,” Army chief General Deepak Kumar has said.

“There are internal checks and steps are being taken that no such repetition takes place,'' said Kapoor on November 12.

All the 10 accused under arrest are allegedly supporters of Abhinav Bharat, a radical Hindu group, or have links to Sangh Parivar groups.

Two Hindu seers, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Dayanand Pandey, who are among the 10 suspects allegedly guided the operation to plant the bomb.

A Nashik court on Monday sent seven of the 10 accused to judicial custody—a step that may hamper the ATS’ probe.

The ATS presented the seven accused, including Thakur and Upadhyay, before a Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) special court, seeking their remand, but the plea was turned down.

An ATS lawyer said the accused should remain in police custody so that they can be interrogated to trace out the source of the finances and the explosives used in the blast, but the MCOCA court rejected the plea.