CBI to quiz Ajmer blast accused on Mecca Masjid attack

Friday, June 11, 2010

HYDERABAD - Two activists of a Hindu terror group accused in the October 2007 blast in the Ajmer Sharif shrine will be brought here by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for questioning in the Mecca Masjid bombing in May the same year.

The CBI, which has made headway in investigations into the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case, will bring Devender Gupta and Lokesh Sharma here next week. Both are members of the Abhinav Bharat and are currently lodged in Ajmer jail,

Armed with a prisoners’s transit warrant issued by a city court, the federal agency will shift the accused in the Ajmer dargah blast to Hyderabad for further investigations.

The CBI believes that the blasts at both the mosque and dargah were the handiwork of the same group.

A team of CBI officials is already in Hyderabad as part of the preparations to carry forward the investigations. They met Police Commissioner A.K. Khan, who assured them of all assistance.

On a petition by the CBI, a local court had Thursday issued a prisoners’ transit warrant to produce Gupta and Sharma in court.

The CBI also informed the court that two other accused, Sandeep and Ramchandra, were absconding and efforts to nab them were on.

Five people were killed in the bomb blast during Friday prayers at the historic Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007. Nine people were killed in the subsequent police firing on protestors outside the mosque.

Five months later, a blast in the Khwaja Moinuddin Chisthi dargah in Ajmer claimed one life and injured 30.

The Hyderabad police had blamed Bangladesh-based Harkatul Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) for the Mecca Masjid terror attack. It also arrested nearly a dozen local Muslim youth but could find no evidence against them. There have also been allegations of police torturing the youth in custody.

The CBI could not make much progress in the case during the last three years. Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had also gone on record last year that the blast case had turned “cold” as the two primary suspects are dead.

Police claimed that Shahid Bilal, a key suspect in the case working for HuJI, was killed in a shootout in Pakistan a few weeks after the mosque blast. Another suspect was also presumed dead.

The case took a new turn in April this year when Rajasthan’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS)arrested Gupta and Sharma in connection with the Ajmer blast.

Filed under: Terrorism

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