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Goa: SIT formed to probe Margao blast

Source: PTI
October 18, 2009 20:12 IST
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A Special Investigating Team was formed by the Goa government on Sunday to probe the Margao blast in which two members of a Hindu right-wing organisation, allegedly involved in the explosion, were killed.

The SIT probe announcement came even as Maharashtra's Anti-Terrorism Squad sleuths joined the state police in investigations and conducted searches at the office of the organization --Sanatan Sanstha-- in Nesai near Margao town, 30 km from Panaji.

The outfit is allegedly linked to 2008 Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Superintendent of police Omprakash Kurtarkar will head the SIT, a senior police officer told PTI.

Two persons, owing allegiance to Sanatan Sanstha, linked to 2008 Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, were killed in the blast on Diwali eve on Friday night.

The police has confirmed that IED was used in the blast. The Sanstha has denied the allegations against it terming them as 'baseless.'

The ATS personnel will help the police ascertain whether there are links between Margao blasts and explosions that occurred in Maharashtra in 2008, police said. Officials of the Sanstha detained and interrogated on Saturday, were again called on Sunday for questioning.

Five people, including ashram's manager Virendra Marathe and Prithviraj Hazare, editor of Sanstha's mouthpiece 'Sanatan Prabhat', were detained on Saturday. "They were interrogated for more than 10 hours on Saturday at Margao police station," a senior police official stated.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Ravindra Yadav told PTI that no formal arrests has been made in the case and all the detained are being interrogated to get possible leads.

The Sanstha said in a statement, "based on searches conducted at the ashram in Ramnathi, the institution is being portrayed as an accused in Margao blast. Media should not jump the gun and should wait for proper judicial process to get over."

Leader of the Opposition in Goa assembly Manohar Parrikar, quoting a senior police officer, told mediapersons that explosive defused at Sancoale, 20 kms away from the blast site, was similar to that used in the blast at Thane in Mumbai.

A team of Goa Police on Sunday left for Sangli in neighbouring Maharashtra to get details about Melgunda Patil, who apparently ferried the explosives to Margao town and died in the blast.

He hails from Sangli village. "We are trying to get more leads through his background," a senior police official said. Sources within the Sanstha confirmed that Patil, a regular visitor to the ashram, was staying in the premises for the last eight days.

Yogesh Naik, another person who died in the blast, is a milkman and was supplying milk to the Santhan's ashram at Ramnathi. Raids were also conducted in Sanstha's ashram at Ramnathi village, near temple town of Ponda on Saturday. Goa police had defused three bombs at the site after the blast on diwali eve.

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