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May 14, 2010 at 09:42pm IST

RSS members behind Hyderabad, Ajmer blasts

New Delhi: Two members of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) - Devender Gupta and Chandrashekhar Barod - have emerged as the prime suspects in the Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts. As links between the two blasts become clearer the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is increasingly looking at involvement of Hindu terror groups.

Ibrahim Junaid and 25 others had spent upto two years in police custody on suspicion of carrying out the Mecca Masjid blast.

"I was beaten up continuously for five days. I was given third degree torture. I was beaten by a rubber belt on my sole and given electric shocks," recounts Junaid describing the police torture.

Junaid now stands vindicated, as the CBI is linking the Ajmer and Hyderabad blasts.

"There is a link between the Ajmer Sharif blast and the Mecca Masjid Hyderabad blast," CBI Director Ashwini Kumar says.

Both blasts took place on a Friday right after the namaz (prayers). Both used low intensity explosives, kept in tin boxes with iron pipes folded around them. Cellphones were used to trigger both explosions; using SIM cards bought with the same fake identity and Telugu newspapers were used in both cases to wrap the bombs.

But focus has shifted away from groups like Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (HuJI) or Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Gupta and Barod, both members of the RSS, are now key suspects in the two blasts.

Gupta, now a resident of Jharkhand, but originally from Ajmer in Rajasthan is believed to have procured the fake identity card of Babulal Yadav from Ranchi, which helped Barod to buy the SIM cards that were used to trigger both the blasts.

Investigators say the names of Gupta and Barod came up during the narco-analysis of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col Prasad Srikant Purohit during the Malegaon blast investigation.

The name of Sunil Joshi, an RSS member from Madhya Pradesh, who died in December 2007 also cropped up.

The Rajasthan Home Minister, Shanti Dhariwal, confirmed the links to The Hindu newspaper saying, "Colonel Purohit, arrested for Malegaon blast, has confessed that Sunil Joshi had organised the Dargah operation with the help of Gupta."

Investigators are now looking for the man who helped Gupta and Barod carry out the Ajmar and Hyderabad blasts, believed to be Aseemanand, a swami involved in reconversion of tribal Christians to Hinduism in Gujarat's Dangs district.

Aseemanand is believed to be in hiding in the Dangs with the Rajasthan anti-terror squad searching for him.

But evidence against Pragya Thakur and Lt Col Purohit, the alleged masterminds of the countrywide Hindu terror operation, is very thin.

Lt Col Purohit was accused of procuring RDX used in the Malegaon blast from the army inventory.

But Indian Army investigations reveal that no explosives went missing from the Army locations where Lt Col Purohit was posted.

So, where did the explosives come from and who procured them for Malegaon, Ajmer or Mecca Masjid blasts?

"I personally feel that there are no evidences in this case. It is just a framed case and they have just put some charges against him because the prosecution also knows that it is going to take ages to prove these charges," says the wife of Lt Col Purohit, Aparna Purohit.

From Malegaon to Ajmer to Hyderabad all links point to one organisation - Abhinav Bharat with Indore in Madhya Pradesh as the nerve center for their activities.

Investigators have zeroed in on the procurers who facilitated Malegaon, Ajmer, and Mecca Masjid blasts. But the men who gave Gupta, Aseemanand and Barod orders are still missing as are the foot soldiers who actually planted the bombs, and till he police and CBI track them down the picture of alleged Hindu terror is incomplete.

(With inputs from Preeti Singh and Swati Vashishtha)

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