Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 48, Dated Dec 06, 2008
is enough evidence against Col Purohit; we will present it in court’
told RANA AYYUB, shortly before his death in
the Mumbai terror attacks, that more army officers will not be arrested
The 2008 Malegaon
blasts investigations have, for the first time, linked the right wing
organisations to terrorist acts in the country. ATS Joint commissioner
Hemant Karkare was spearheading the investigation. In an interview with
TEHELKA, he had clarified the ATS stand on the conflicting reports
that have been trickling out regarding the investigations.
investigator Hemant Karkare insisted that there is no political
pressure on him or his team
Photo: DEEPAK SALVI
Reports suggest that VHP strongman
Pravin Togadia funded Abhinav
Bharat, the organisation which is
allegedly involved in the Malegaon
blasts? Has this been confirmed?
There was a reference to his name during
the investigation, but that has nothing to
do with the Malegaon blasts investigations
of 2008. At this point of time, we are
only looking into the 2008 blasts.
Will Pravin Togadia be questioned,
since his name has also cropped up in
the narco tests done on the accused
in the Nanded blasts of 2006?
No, as of now there is no evidence
against him. As I said earlier, we are
looking at only the Malegaon blasts, so
there is no question of interrogating
Reports suggest the involvement of
high-profile seers in the Malegaon
blasts. Has the ATS got proof of this?
We are not looking at seers or saints in
relation to the Malegaon blasts. We are
not looking at people from a particular
community when we question them. We
are just detaining people on the basis of
evidence. As for Dayanand Pandey, he
has proclaimed himself to be a seer.
There are a lot of people going around claiming to be saints.
Was Swami Aseemanand from Dangs
involved in other blasts, including the
one at Ajmer, as reports suggest?
A reference has been made to his name
during the investigations, we cannot
divulge much at this stage. These people
might not have been seers. Aseemanand
could also have taken the garb of a seer.
While presenting its case, the ATS said
that there was a possibility of those
arrested in the Malegaon blasts case
also being involved in the blasts that
took place in the Marathwada region
in 2006. Is there evidence to prove
this? Has the ATS been able to link
those arrested to other blasts?
There are agencies that have been looking
at the various links, namely the CBI,
which has been looking at the Malegaon
blasts of 2006. The link we found is that
of Rakesh Dhawre. He is a Pune-based
counterfeit arms dealer who was involved
in the training that took place for
the blasts of 2006. He is the common
link between the 2006 blasts including
the ones in Purna and Parbhani, and the
2008 Malegaon blasts. Investigating
agencies are working on it.
There are reports that police officials
from other states have been coming
to interrogate those arrested by the
ATS. Is that true?
Yes, police officials from other states
have been coming but that’s something
which is protocol in such cases. They
wanted to know of the modus operandi
so that they could figure out if there are
similarities to other blasts, in Andhra
Pradesh and Chandigarh. What they
found out is something only they will be
able to tell you.
The ATS made a flip-flop on the links
of those arrested with the
Samjhauta blasts, which raised
questions when it found no mention
in the remand copy.
A lot has been made of the Samjhauta
Express statement that was made by the
public prosecutor in the case. There was
a statement made by the witness that
Purohit helped in the procurement of
RDX. That was a part of the case diary. It
cannot be taken as gospel truth. What
was wrong was the mention of the same
to the media, although we had said that
there is no such evidence of the same.
The BJP has targeted the ATS for its
investigations. Has there been any
We are here to do our job as an investigating
agency and bring out the truth.
Having said that, it’s baseless to say that
we are working under political pressure.
There is absolutely no pressure on me or
my officials. We are doing our best to
bring the truth out.
Abhinav Bharat has come out as
having played a key role. Is the ATS
planning to question Himani
Savarkar, its founder member?
We look at individuals and not organisations
when we carry out our investigations.
We are not looking at Abhinav
Bharat, we are looking at the individuals
involved. We have not questioned
Himani Savarkar so far, and as yet, there
is no evidence against her.
There are reports that an ATS team
has left for Delhi. Is it true?
No, it’s absolutely untrue.
There were also reports that the
army was not cooperating with the
ATS with regards to information on
Col Purohit and his leave records?
I would like to clear this. The army has
given cooperation to the ATS right from
day one on every aspect of the interrogation.
There have been reports that the
army has not been cooperating with the
ATS and that’s absolutely untrue. The
army gave us his leave records and other
documents, which we needed.
Is the ATS looking at arresting more
No, we are not looking at arresting or detaining
any more army officials in the case.
Most of the accused have alleged that
they have been subjected to physical
and mental torture.
We are doing our duty as investigating
agencies. Such allegations come during
the course of investigations. But they are
untrue. We cannot do anything about
Can Purohit and Dayanand Pandey
be called the key conspirators in the
Malegaon blasts? Is this evident from
the narco tests of the accused?
We are yet to get the narco reports.
There is evidence against Purohit, but we
can’t reveal anything at this stage
As the findings of narco tests are
not admissible in court, does the ATS
have substantial proof to nail the
accused in the case?
The ATS has been carrying out investigations.
We have enough evidence against
the people we have arrested and we will
present it in court.
There has been a report that Purohit
and Dayanand Pandey had conspired
to kill RSS veterans like Mohan Bhagwat
and Indreesh. What do you have
to say on this? Have those arrested
confessed to the same? The name of
Delhi-based doctor RP Singh too has
cropped up during the course of investigations.
Does the ATS have evidence
suggesting his involvement?
The name of RP Singh came up during
the investigation of Dayanand Pandey. I
can’t reveal much about it at this stage.
As for the assassination of RSS leaders,
some references had emerged but they
can’t be linked to any organisation.
Are more arrests likely to be made by
the ATS in the Malegaon blasts? Do
you also see the involvement of
Hindu organisations like the Bajrang
Dal, RSS, and Sanatan Sanstha in
various terror acts in the country?
The ATS had filed a chargesheet against
the Sanatan Sanstha in a different case,
but there is no proof to link organisations
as yet with the blasts. We are just
looking at individuals.
Does the arrest of seers and armymen
in terror acts suggest a trend?
Col Purohit was just an aberration. Just
because one man has been arrested it
does not mean that the entire army is
tainted. Tomorrow, you cannot blame
the entire police force just because one
officer is arrested.
Have some other names cropped
up during the investigations of the
accused? Has the name of Nitin
Joshi, one of the key members of
the Abhinav Bharat, cropped up?
At the moment we are looking for
Shyam Apte and Ramji, who have been
named in the investigations. They played
an important role and are absconding.