Mecca blast accused sent to judicial custody

Saturday, November 20, 2010

HYDERABAD - A Hyderabad court Saturday sent a key accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast to judicial custody till Nov 30.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which arrested Jatin Chatterjee, also known as Swami Asimanand at Haridwar Friday and brought him here early Saturday, produced him before additional metropolitan magistrate at Nampally Court.

The court sent the accused to judicial remand. Swami was later shifted to Chanchalguda central jail.

The CBI petition, seeking custody of the accused, will come up for hearing Monday.

Swami is considered an ideologue of Abhinav Bharat, an extremist organisation involved in the Malegaon and Ajmer blasts.

The evasive Swami, also known as Swami Omkarnath and Naba Kumar Sarkar, was staying near Haridwar under an assumed name and had also managed to obtain forged identity documents.

The CBI recovered a passport issued by regional passport office Kolkata, a ration card and an election ID card issued by the Haridwar authorities from his possession.

Nine people were killed in the blast during Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid May 18, 2007. Five more people were killed in police firing when protests were held immediately after the blasts.

Swami’s name surfaced during the probe into the 2008 Malegaon blast when the Maharashtra Police recovered his driver’s number from Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur - an accused in the Malegaon case.

A post-graduate in botany and hailing from Hooghly in West Bengal, Swami had shifted to Gujarat in the 1990s.

The CBI, the National Investigation Agency and Rajasthan Anti-Terrorism Squad are likely to interrogate him in connection with the Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and Ajmer blasts. This is also likely to help in the arrest of Sunil Dangre and Ramchandra Kalsangra, the absconding accused in the blasts.

The CBI in June had announced a reward of Rs.10 lakh each for the arrest of the two who hail from Indore in Madhya Pradesh.

Two accused in the Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts are already lodged in a jail here. Devender Gupta and Lokesh Sharma, both members of Abhinav Bharat, were arrested by the Rajasthan ATS and the CBI brought them here in June.

One person was killed and 30 injured in the blast at Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti dargah in Ajmer in October 2007.

Filed under: Terrorism

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