After reopening the probe into the Nanded blast of 2006, the Central Bureau of Investigation has recently taken custody of Army's tainted Lieutenant-Colonel, Srikant Purohit, and questioned him at length about his role in the incident.
The CBI officially remained tight-lipped about this development but sources in the investigating agency said the remand of Purohit has been taken from a designated court and he has been questioned about the Nanded blast.
The Malegaon blast charge sheet, which has named Purohit among 14 others as an accused, had raised serious questions on the nature of the CBI probe into the Nanded explosions, which may have ignored early signs of self-styled right wing groups getting armed.
Purohit was examined by detectives of the Special Crime unit of CBI to ascertain whether he was instrumental in providing training to cadre of Abhinav Bharat, official sources said in New Delhi [ Images ] on Sunday.
He is the second person after Rakesh Dattatraya Dhawade, one of the accused in the Malegaon case, who has been taken on remand by the CBI in connection with the Nanded blast that took place on the intervening night of April 4-5, 2006 at the residence of Laxman Rajkondwar, allegedly an RSS worker.
Rajkondwar's sons Naresh and Himanshu, a VHP activist, were killed while assembling the bomb. Dhawade is alleged to have made arrangements and facilitated training to the accused persons in the Nanded bomb blasts in 2006.
Six people were killed in the Malegaon explosions while the Nanded blasts claimed the lives of two persons. The CBI reopened probe in the case in December last year.
The decision to reopen the case was taken by the present CBI Director Ashwani Kumar after improper probe was detected during the investigation into the Malegaon case.
Sources in central security agencies said one of the accused, whose voice had to be restored after operating upon his vocal chord, which was damaged in the blast, had told the investigators that Naresh, a Bajrang Dal activist, had allegedly planned three blasts outside mosques in Jalna and Parbani in Maharashtra [ Images ] in 2003 and 2004 respectively.
Recoveries made by the investigating agencies from Rajkondwar's house included skull caps, fake beards and a plan that showed the target as a mosque at Aurangabad, nearly 200 km from Nanded.
The CBI was also asked by central security agencies as to why the call details of Naresh were not investigated properly, the sources said, claiming that one such call had been traced to an important functionary of a saffron outfit in Ayodhya.
The CBI investigated the Nanded blast and filed a charge sheet on March 15, last year against 10 people, including Sanjay Chowdhury, Yogesh Deshpande, Maruti [ Get Quote ] Wagah, Gunniraj Thakur and Mahesh Pandey, allegedly associated with Bajrang Dal, besides the two who died in the explosion.