Malegaon. Mecca Masjid. Ajmer Sharif. Why are tapes implicating ultra Hindutva outfits in terror blasts gathering dust?

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The conspirators
Lt Col Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, prime accused in the Malegaon blast case

Dayanand Pandey: Yesterday Brig. Mathur of the Deolali Cantt called and said, give me 20 men, I will train them. Col. Purohit: Maj. Prayag Modak was the one who came in our meeting and is helping us. There is Col. Raikar and Col. Hasmukh Patel. On 24 June 2007, we were to have a meeting with King Gyanendra. Col. Lajpat Prajwal, who is now a brigadier, was the one who made the meeting possible.

Tehelka has accessed 37 audio tapes, two videos and several witness statements that cast further light on the Malegaon blasts case of 2008. This conversation is just a snippet of the voluminous — and self-incriminating — evidence in these tapes which reveal the right-wing Hindutva terror network beyond Sadhvi Pragya and Colonel SP Purohit. The fact that such damning evidence has been in the possession of investigative agencies for a while but has not been acted upon, is testimony to a disturbing unwillingness by the State to unearth the larger conspiracy behind the blasts. .

Transcripts of some of these video and audio tapes were first published in Tehelka (Scheming, Hatred and Porn on Tape, 23 January 2009). They ­expose not just the complicity of members of various ultra Hindutva organisations from across the country but, interestingly, their vituperative hatred even for Sangh Parivar members who they ­believe are diluting their hate agenda against Muslims.

The Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad (ATS) under its late chief, Hemant Karkare, had arrested high-profile seer Dayanand Pandey alias Shankaracharya and Col. SP Purohit for the planning and ­execution of the Malegaon blasts (2008) which claimed five lives. Another blast had taken place around the same time in Modasa, Gujarat, killing one.

Ramji Kalsangra is a key accused in the blasts. He apparently planted the bombs. Though the ATS had received specific intelligence in January on Kalsangra’s presence in his hometown, it made no efforts to track him down.

The tapes show that the conspiracy was not just restricted to the 12 who were arrested. They throw up names of those who were sympathisers and funders, as suggested by Hemant Karkare in his last ­interview to Tehelka on 25 November 2008, a day before his death. The people mentioned are majors, brigadiers, police chiefs and politicians. But after the filing of the chargesheet, there has been silence.

Damningly, Tehelka also has a copy of an important department communication to a top ats official officials in the beginning of the year, with information on Ramji Kalsangra, a key accused. Kalsangra is wanted not just in the Malegaon blasts case but also for the Ajmer dargah, Mecca Masjid (Hyderabad), Malegaon mosque and Samjhauta Express blasts. Kalsangra was the one who planted the bombs and rode the bike used in the blasts. He was declared absconding. However, the department communication accessed by Tehelka speaks of specific information about Kalsangra’s whereabouts — the fact that he visited his mother on Diwali and Makar Sankranti and was being sheltered by a Patidar family in Gopipur, Madhya Pradesh. It also mentions his voter identity (MP 33 258 192304 Shajapur). Yet no action was taken.

Disillusioned officials say they were dismayed by the disinterest in pursuing these leads. In fact, the nexus between these blasts and the Modasa one now being established by central agencies could have been done much earlier had the ats not sat on the evidence.

At the time of filing its chargesheet in 2009, the Maharashtra ats had asserted that it had a watertight case against the accused. However, it ­remained silent on the involvement of the same accused in the Mecca Masjid blast of May 2007 which killed 14 people as well as the Ajmer dargah blasts of October 2007 which took four lives. It dismissed a statement by Maj. Nitin Joshi, member of Abhinav Bharat, that his colleague Col. Purohit had said that the rdx used in the Malegaon blasts was the same as that used for the Samjhauta blasts.

The tapes accessed by Tehelka also contain what amount to confessions of rioting. For instance, RP Singh, an ­endocrinologist at Apollo Hospital, tells Dayanand Pandey, “We burnt 25 Muslims at one go. Killing Muslims by day, practicing medicine at night: we have to do this. We have to spread terror. No more crying” (translated from Hindi).

The mayhem L to R: Aftermath of Malegaon blasts on 9 September 2006; gory evidence at Ajmer on 11 October 2007; bloodshed at Mecca Masjid on 7 May 2007

Further in the same conversation, Singh is heard discussing with BL Sharma Prem, former bjp mp, Maj. Ramesh Upadhyay and Col. Purohit (in custody for the Malegaon blasts) of attempting to kill Vice-President Hamid Ansari. Singh, also associated with the World Hindu Federation, says: “I had a very good relation with Ashok Singhal from the vhp. He is a great guy but the Sangh men did not let him continue… rss should also pay a price for its betrayal”.

Col. Purohit: “The Israelis ask us to give them proof of our involvement. What more proof do they need? We have done two such operations earlier which were successful. I was the one who had got the equipment for all of them”.

Ramesh Upadhyay: “Hyderabad mein jo bomb blasts kiya thha woh apna hi admi thha. Woh colonel apko batayenge kisne kiya thha. (The Hyderabad blasts were done by our man. The colonel can tell you who it was).”

In a curious twist — and in grotesque proof of the lengths this group is willing to go — the tapes also reveal big fissures within the Sangh Parivar. A week ago, a story broadcast by a television channel obliquely implicated rss leader Indresh Kumar in the terror conspiracy. However, in the tapes accessed by Tehelka,  senior rss leader from Pune, Shyam Apte talks of meeting members of Abhinav Bharat. Startlingly, he is recorded talking to Dayanand Pandey about getting ­Indresh Kumar eliminated through a chemical which one of their men was to procure, for not sufficiently supporting their ultra-hardline activities. Pandey says: “Post mortem mein bhi woh cheez nahi aayegi, mere liye toh usmein koi risk nahi hai. (The post-mortem won’t show the chemical, there is no risk for me.) I have told him whatever time it takes, we are fine with it.” To which Apte adds that whatever money is needed for this should be given.

If sources in the Maharashtra ats are to be believed, Apte was on the verge of being arrested in November 2008 and broke down when confronted with the evidence by the ats team. However, ats chief Hemant Karkare died soon after in the Mumbai 26/11 attack and Apte was never arrested. Today, both he and RP Singh are walking free because agencies claim they have no corroborative evidence against them. Apart from these voluntary admissions on tape, of course.

Another example of inexplicable lethargy is Swami Aseemanand, who used to run the Shabri Ashram in the Dangs region of Gujarat. He is an accused in the Malegaon case, and the cbi now believes could be a key figure in the Hyderabad and Mecca Masjid blasts. He was spotted two months ago in Waghai village in Dangs in a blue Santro by local police informers. He was also spotted in April in Mahal district of Gujarat driving a white van. But no move was made against him.

Another despairing investigator says there did not seem to be a will to question vhp leader Pravin Togadia whose name crops up many times in the tapes: “They just could not prove that Togadia had given Rs 1 lakh to Abhinav Bharat. Nor were they able to investigate why Col. Purohit’s email account shriyaak@yahoo.co.in had four email ids of Praveen Togadia.”

YP Singh, ips officer and law expert, is also baffled by the go-slow. “How much really was done to make it a ­watertight case and to put in the dock all those in whose direction the leads were pointing?” he asks. The answers are disturbingly evident.

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Transcripts of Tapes Detailing Conversation between RSS leader Shyam Apte and high-profile seer Dayanand Pandey alias Shankaracharya

Shyam Apte: [RSS chief] Mohan Bhagwat doesn’t have a full grip on this issue. The organisation, which he wants to build, is not happening. Hiring people and training them doesn’t make an organisation. I told Col. [SP] Purohit that people in the army shouldn’t know about his activities. He has already been given a memo. I want you to warn him that he shouldn’t be court martialled. We can rebuild Abhinav Bharat on a big scale if we need to.

Dayanand Pandey: Now, listen about the plans. I have called the person with the chemicals, woh mere paas aayega (will come to me)… I will use the same guy to do the work. He will reach by the 8th.

Apte: I am doubtful. On the 18th, Mohan Bhagwat will reach Delhi. He is putting two plus two. Indresh [Kumar] must have told him, I may go to Yeshwant. So he must be waiting to discuss it with me. If he comes, then our job is over. I am not worried. I am insisting because they [Indresh and Bhagwat] are our enemies.

Pandey: I have another option. There is a guy in Varanasi, a professional, who can do the work for us. He said he could do it. He will take 50 percent before killing and 50 later. I have used him earlier, too.

Apte: Aapne Rs 5 lakh diye toh woh hain yaa nahi (You gave Rs 5 lakh, is it still there?)

Dayanand: Maine isi liye kaha woh chemical ke bare mein. Post-mortem mein bhi woh cheez nahi aayegi aur mere liye toh usmein koi risk nahi hai. (That’s why I had mentioned about that chemical. The post-mortem won’t show the chemical, there is no risk for me). I have told him whatever time it takes, we are fine with it. I think this work will be done within two months.

Apte: Nagpur, Jhandewalan and Pune are my domains. I asked him when he was travelling by train. Mohan Bhagwat talked to me in Pune and was trying to convince me about Indresh, that he came from a good family. I spoke to [BJP leader] Murli Manohar Joshi also and have asked him to speak to Bhagwatji.

Pandey: We could have done this in Pune itself when he was here. I know of a man called Yadav from Azamgarh who could have done this (Investigators feel here they are talking about the attempt on the life of Bhagwat).

Transcripts of Tapes Detailing Conversations between Colonel SP Purohit, Major Ramesh Upadhyay, former BJP MP BL Sharma, Dayanand Pandey, Col. Dhar and RP Singh, an endocrinologist at Apollo Hospital.

Col. SP Purohit: We have to fight for our constitution and right. If Muslims can come down in huge numbers, why can’t we? We should have some nuisance value on the national, political and international level.

Maj. Upadhyay: I am just proposing as to why are we doing this. Even the BJP can’t be successful as we are fighting the constitution. This is not Hindu bharat desh, we have to fight the war. We can’t just keep talking about Ram Sethu.

Col. Purohit: We have done two such operations earlier which were successful. I was the one who had got the equipment for all of them. On 24 June 2007, we were to have a meeting with King Gyanendra. Col. Lajpat Prajwal, who is now a brigadier, was the one who made the meeting possible. We have to make use of the fact that nobody in this country will be able to figure out who is behind all this.

RP Singh: The BJP has a problem with the VHP. The VHP will be like a headless chicken without Ashok Singhal and Pravin Togadia.

Col. Purohit: The BJP will be as effective as the Shiv Sena at the national level if they remove the VHP. What do we expect from these people? Major Saheb has 20 people and we will train them.

Pandey: People from Israel came and asked us this, we don’t exchange mails, we just save them as drafts. I had also told Pravinbhai that these Maoists will be dominant and we have to do something about this. What Islam is doing is known to all of us. Aggressive Hindutva is what we need now.

RP Singh: King Gynendra ke samdhi hamaaare saath baithe the in Gorakhpur (King Gyanendra’s relative was with us in Gorakhpur). We have been getting the Nepalis together and tell them the truth. Some of the Nepalis have to come here. I have been telling Mohan Bhagwat about this. I told police chief Subhash Joshi about this and he was pained by the fact that the BJP is helping the Maoist forces. I have also been in touch with an old RSS man but could not take it ahead. Maj. Prayag Modak was the one who came to our meeting. Also helping us are Col. Raikar and Col. Hasmukh Patel, who are commanding officers. Lajpat Prajwal is from the side of Rani Aishwarya. By the way, Col. Dhar is here…

Col. Purohit: Namaskar Dharji. Let me introduce to the people here. We are on the same plane… Hindu rashtra.

RP Singh: Some like-minded Christians will also be helping us. I had very good relations with Ashok Singhal. He is a great guy but the Sangh men did not let him continue. He agreed with me on the Nepal issue. But Sangh has maintained its distance from him and because of me the entry of Indresh is restricted from VHP. Indresh is the same man who had meetings with Mulayam Singh Yadav and sarsanghchalak. I have been told that Indresh is involved with the ISI. At least Mayawati is better than these RSS guys. But she is not loyal. I met Murli Manohar Joshi and LK Advani and told Advani that he was doing a bigger blunder than Jawaharlal Nehru.Kal Pratibha ko lekar TV pe interview kar raha tha (he was being interviewed on TV), he is showing his tears and Barkha [Dutt] is interviewing him. Ravi Shankar Prasad doesn’t know what is happening in the BJP.

Pandey: I have been told that 54 people in the Sangh have been sold out to the ISI.

RP Singh: No hope can be kept of people like Indresh who are already neutralised. And till people like these are alive, there is no hope. In this situation traditional means won’t help. There is no point approaching Indresh for help. They removed BL Sharma and Govindacharya. Indresh gave a statement in Dhanbad appeasing Muslims and the people getting compromised are Indresh’s own men. The RSS should also pay a price for their betrayal. They should say that Indresh made us pay a price for ideological betrayal.

Pandey: It is a common sentiment that an organisation needs to be brought in to counter the Sangh. People like Ram Madhav and Indresh are being fed by the Sangh.

Col. Purohit: I have the population figures of Muslims in each state. But I have only three AK-47 guns. We couldn’t buy more earlier because we didn’t have the requisite funds.

Maj. Upadhyay: Cox bazaar mein they sell AK rifles but they are mostly jihadis.

Col. Purohit: You will get very expensive AK guns.

Pandey: Arrey, you get many AK guns.

Col. Purohit: The Israelis ask us to give them proof of our involvement. What more proof do they need? We have completed two successful operations.

Maj. Upadhyay: Hyderabad mein jo bomb blasts kiya tha woh apna hi aadmi tha. Woh colonel aapko batayenge kisne kiya tha (The Hyderabad blasts were done by our man. The colonel can tell you who it was).

Pandey: What if this organisation is banned?

Apte: We will give it an international aspect… and a covert name. We have to fight. See, if you aren’t a Hindu, you are my enemy. I will be unsafe if you are alive.

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