ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Malegaon: Who Is Above the Law?

The recent revelations by Lt Col Shrikant Purohit about the Malegaon case are making things more complicated, but they also clarify the general picture by giving clear indications of the involvement of army men and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders.

This is a revised and expanded version of an article that was posted on 4 July in the Web Exclusive section of the EPW website.

The first information report (FIR) drafted by Hemant Karkare, the then head of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), presented Lt Col Shrikant Purohit as one of the driving forces of a Hindu nationalist organisation called Abhinav Bharat (AB)1 and a key actor of the Malegaon blast in 2008.

On 11-12 April 2008, Purohit met other members of AB, including Pragya Singh Thakur, in Bhopal where they “conspired together to take revenge against Muslims in Malegaon by exploding a bomb at a thickly populated area. The accused, Purohit took the responsibility of providing explosives. Also among the accused, Pragya Singh Thakur took the responsibility of providing men for the explosion. In this meeting all the participants agreed and consented to commit the explosion at Malegaon.”2 On 3 August 2008, during a meeting of some core members of AB in the premises of Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain, Purohit was given the responsibility to procure RDX. Purohit then asked Rakesh Dhawade, “a trained expert in committing explosions and assembling Improvised Explosive Devices”, to provide explosives to those who were to be instrumental in the blast, Kalsangra and Dange. They met in Pune on 9 or 10 August. In November 2008, the Maha­rashtra ATS had told a Nashik court that Purohit had stolen 60 kg of RDX while he was posted in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) in 2006.3

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