Exactly a year after the Malegaon blast shook the powerloom town in Maharashtra leaving seven people dead, one of the surviving victims has revealed that he had alerted the local police about an abandoned scooter, but no action had been taken.
On September 29, 2008, 50-year old Ansari, who runs a transport shop in Malegaon's crowded market, had noticed an unattended scooter, which was parked in front of his shop.
The Anti-Terrorism Squad has claimed that the blast was allegedly planned and executed by self-styled Hindu radical group Abhinav Bharat.
At first sight, the two-wheeler looked like an innocuous scooter routinely parked by a shopper, Ansari recalled.
"I first saw it at seven in the evening. When after one hour no takers came, I felt suspicious about it. It was just 10 feet from my shop which made me even more worried," Ansari told the Press Trust of India over phone from Malegaon, 280 km from Mumbai.
Ansari asked his assistants to look for the owners of the scooter but to no avail. Later, he decided to inform the police about the same.
"We keep hearing that whenever unattended things are spotted, we should inform the police. I decided to inform the officials at the nearby police post, which was quite close. I approached them at 8.20 pm, but no one came," he said.
An hour after he drew the attention of the policemen, a powerful blast occurred in the vehicle injuring him and many others due to flying shrapnel. Ansari's shop bore the brunt of the blast.
"For a moment I could not hear anything... The only sight was of blood, broken glasses and people running around. Then cries and shouting of people took over. I could feel severe pain in the head and blood was oozing out," Ansari said.
He was later given a compensation of Rs 50,000 for the losses he suffered during the incident.
The probe by ATS opened a can of worms as a right wing Hindu extremist group and serving military intelligence officers were found to be allegedly involved in the case.
The motorcycle used in the blast led the police to suspect its owner Pragya Singh Thakur, a Surat-based Sadhvi, who was arrested on October 23 last year.
A serving military intelligence officer Lt Col Srikant Purohit, alleged to be one of the conspirators, was also arrested on November 5.Purohit, who had then been serving his tenure in Jammu and Kashmir, was accused by police of supplying RDX and money to the recruits besides training the cadres of the little-known Abhinav Bharat.