The Central Bureau of Investigation has added the name of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activist Sunil Joshi to the list of accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case.
Joshi, who hails from Madhya Pradesh, was shot dead by three unknown assailants on December 29, 2007, months after the blasts in Hyderabad and Ajmer.
The CBI moved a petition in the 14th additional chief metropolitan magistrate's court in Hyderabad on Tuesday, seeking the addition of Joshi's name.
His name is the latest addition to a list which includes RSS members Ramchandra Kalsangra alis Ramji, Sandeep Dange, Devender Gupta and Lokesh Sharma. Significantly, the CBI petition has referred to all five of them as RSS members.
According to sources, Sunil Joshi has emerged as the main brain behind the conspiracy to target Muslim religious sites across the country. He was allegedly one of the three suspects who entered the Mecca Masjid posing as tourists and planted the bomb.
Joshi is reportedly a close friend of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, the main accused in the Malegaon blast case.
CBI investigations have revealed that Joshi, Dange and Kalsangra had travelled to Hyderabad from Indore by train and stayed at a lodge in Secunderabad, where they assembled the bombs. The accused then travelled from Secunderabad to the mosque in an auto rickshaw.
According to CBI sources, the accused had planned to target Muslim religious places across the country to avenge the terrorist attack on Sankat Mochan Mandir in Varanasi. Apart from Mecca Masjid and Ajmer dargah, their hit list also included the historic Jama Masjid in Delhi.
Gupta, who has been arrested, is being questioned at an undisclosed location about the sequence of events leading to the blast in Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007, in which nine people had been killed.
According to sources, the CBI was also questioning leaders of the BJP and the RSS. Two such leaders, Ramji Rao and Ashok Warshiney, were summoned to CBI's temporary office in Dlikush Guest House for questioning.
Intensifying its search for Dange and Kalsangra, the CBI has announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for information on each of them.
A spokesman of the CBI said that any person who can provide information leading to the arrest of the two absconders will be given a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh. The name of the informant will be kept a secret, said the investigative agency.
Sandeep Dange is also known as Parmananda and Ramachandra Kalsangra uses aliases like Ramji and Vishnu Patel. Though they had been earlier arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Squad of the Rajasthan police in connection with the blast in Ajmer dargah, they were released later.