The Muslim community in Hyderabad is enthused by the Central Bureau of Investigation's statement that the Ajmer Dargah and the Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blasts were interlinked.
There are several similarities in both the blasts. Both were low intensity blasts triggered by mobile phones during Ramazan. Ironically the initial statements by the police of both states were similar. Both blamed differences within the Muslim community and said that it was the enemity between rival sects that caused these explosions.
In the Mecca Masjid blasts, the blame fell on Shahid Bilal, while in Ajmer a youth by the name Salim was blamed. Salim too was a resident of Hyderabad and was killed in the blast.
The CBI is now looking at the role played by Devendra Gupta and Chandrashekar Barod in both these blasts. Sources in the investigating agency told rediff.com that both cases to be investigated together since they are similar. Both Gupta and Barod are being questioned about both blasts.
The cycle of terror: Investigations have now made it clear that the same group triggered these blasts including the one in Malegaon. This entire chain was triggered off at Nanded. A couple of disgruntled youth alleged to be Hindu right-wing activists hatched a plan to carry out blasts to avenge other incidents of terrorism.
Soon after this, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur came into the picture. She is said to have been close to Sunil Joshi, who was later killed by members of the Students Islamic Movement of India.
She decided to avenge his death and got in touch with Colonel Purohit, who is believed to have played a large role in the Malegaon blasts. They decided to target locations in India which were Muslim-dominated. Purohit, who was with the military intelligence, even managed to procure the RDX for the operation.
While the investigating agencies managed to establish the roles played by Purohit and Pragya in the Malegaon blasts, they are looking closely into the manner in which Gupta and Barod carried out the other two blasts. "We believe there is a strong connection and would like to question all others in this circle again to get more leads," an officer said. "The names of Gupta and Barod too had cropped up during the scientific tests conducted on Pragya Singh Thakur and this is what led us to apprehend them," the officer added. The police had kept a watch on Gupta and Barod for more than six months before apprehending them.
Investigations reveal that Gupta arranged for fake identification cards while his accomplice procured fake SIM cards. These cards were used in mobile phones which triggered the blast.
These two men may be the key to cracking both cases. Sunil Joshi, the murdered friend of Sadhvi, is believed to have carried out the Ajmer blasts. Joshi is considered to be the mastermind in this case and could have well been in the planning of the Mecca Masjid blasts too, sources point out.
Another godman: Immediately after the Malegaon case was cracked, the name of Swami Dayanand Pandey came to light. A powerful swami, he had spilled the beans on why exactly the Sadhvi teamed up with Colonel Purohit to carry out the blasts.
Today the CBI is on the trail of another godman named Aseemanand Swami. Sources say that he is a hardliner and during the various conversations with the accused persons, he has spoke about revenge. He was mainly involved in reconverting tribals from Christianity to Hinduism in Gujarat. The Rajasthan ATS is currently on his trail.
The Goa case: Initially it was suspected that even the blast at Goa could be connected with the above-mentioned blasts. However investigations and the chargesheet suggests that this operation was carried out by a different bunch of people. The Sanathan Sanstha, the organisation which was blamed for this incident, however, states that the accused in the blasts were not dedicated workers. Abhya Vartak, the convenor says that four of them were members, but that does not mean that the Sanstha is behind the blasts. "We have been conducting programmes and telling our members that we do not subscribe to violent means," he says.