The Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) has alleged that Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, the first serving officer from the Indian Army to be arrested for an act of terror after the 2008 Malegaon Blasts, routed funds from Abhinav Bharat Trust, the Hindu nationalist organisation started by him to fund terror, to buy his own bungalow in Nashik.
ATS officials investigating the blasts alleged Purohit used Rs 2.5 lakh, collected for activities of the Trust floated in 2007, for this purchase. “The money was routed through one of the co-accused Ajay Rahirkar, who is also the treasurer of Abhinav Bharat Trust,” said an officer from the ATS, requesting anonymity.
The ATS has made a reference to this issue in a 4,000-page charge sheet filed in 2008. It has been trying to gather evidence to substantiate this allegation. A team of ATS officials visited Purohit’s Nashik bungalow recently to dig out more information on the transaction.
Purohit’s lawyer Shrikant Shivade rubbished the ATS’s claim. “He owns an ancestral property in Nashik. If there is evidence to prove otherwise, it should be brought to court,” he said.
The Supreme Court declined bail for Purohit on October 4 this year. Sources in the ATS said Purohit had collected up to Rs 21 lakh in the account of Abhinav Bharat Trust to promote his fundamentalist ideology.
The amount was given to Raikar who disbursed it to Purohit’s co-accused. The group bought RDX, hand grenades and firearms with this money.
The Malegaon bomb blasts
Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nashik, Maharashtra.
The probe into the blast put the focus on right-wing Hindu groups. It named Pragya Thakur, Purohit and Swami Dayanand Pandey as key conspirators.
Who is Purohit?
Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit is an Indian army officer. He was a suspect in the Samjhauta Express bombing until the Indian government put the blame on Pakistani infiltrators.
In January 2010, the Pakistan Interior Minister alleged Purohit had hired Pakistani extremists to carry out the bombing and blamed India for not pursuing investigations in the matter.
There are two other cases pending against the army officer for promising firearms to civilians in Nashik and Pune.
-via Mumbai Mirror