M A I N   N E W S

Malegaon Blasts
Head of Jammu mutt held in UP
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, November 12
After giving indications of a “very high profile” person from Uttar Pradesh being involved in the Malegaon blasts, Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) caused an anti-climax of sorts by picking up a little known head of a Jammu mutt from Kanpur today.

Dayanand Pandey, alias Amritanand, was arrested by the Mumbai ATS with the cooperation of ATS UP from Rawatpur area under Kalyanpur police station in Kanpur around 2.30 pm.

Interestingly, no one in UP has heard of this religious person who since 2003 is the head of Sharda Sarvagya Peeth in Jammu.

Addressing a press conference, Brij Lal, additional director-general, law and order, admitted that the state police and ATS knew nothing about Pandey.

While the Maharashtra ATS claims to have evidence of Pandey's involvement in the September 29 Malegaon blasts killing five persons and injuring 89, it has not arrived in UP without an arrest warrant.

In a letter dated November 10, Mohan Kulkarni, ACP, ATS Mumbai, had requested Nashik Chief Judicial Magistrate for permission to interrogate Pandey in connection with the Malegaon blasts.

The Nashik court duly gave permission to question the Jammu-based muttadheesh for case number 18/2008 under IPC's sections 302,307,324,326,407,143A, 129B's part 16,18 and 23K.

With the intention of quizzing Pandey, Kulkarni arrived in Lucknow late last night and handed over the court orders to the Uttar Pradesh ATS.

According to Brij Lal, Pandey was staying with a disciple in Kanpur. “It remains to be seen if

Mumbai ATS seeks transit remand or decides to interrogates him in Lucknow,” said Brij Lal, who categorically refused any other person from UP being wanted by the Mumbai ATS in connection with the blasts.

“We do not know if Pande was involved in the August 2008 Kanpur blasts when two Bajrang Dal activists were killed. This would be found out by the Mumbai ATS during the interrogation,” said Brij Lal, who also read out the Nashik court's order to the media.

Since 2003 Pande, alias Amritanand, had been living in house no 248 of Sector 1K of Jammu's Trikutanagar. Originally, he is believed to be from Varanasi.

For the past few days, the Maharashtra ATS was reported to be contemplating the arrest of a very influential religious person from UP, sending shockwaves across the Sangh Parivar. It also caused BJP MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Aditayanath to launch a frontal attack against the UPA. Meanwhile, Prakash Sharma, national convenor of Bajrang Dal, said Pandey had “no links” with his outfit.

"I am not even aware of this person. I don't know who he is. He is not a member of Bajrang Dal," Sharma claimed. 


Pandey’s CA arrested
Tejinder Singh Sodhi/Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 12
Within hours of the arrest of Dayanand Pandey, alias Amritanand Swami, a religious sect leader in Kanpur, by the Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad in connection with the Malegaon blasts, his charted accountant and the latter’s son were picked up by the J&K police for questioning in Jammu.

According to sources, Virender Kapoor and his son Pawan Kapoor, residents of the posh Trikuta Nagar locality here, were close associates of Dayanand Pandey. Pandey used to stay in Kapoor’s Trikuta Nagar residence whenever he visited the state.
Speaking to mediapersons before being taken into custody, Kapoor said he knew Pandey as he manages Pandey’s financial transactions and returns, but he denied having any knowledge about the blasts.

“I used to file his returns and keep an account of his other financial transactions, but I had no knowledge about his links with the blasts,” Kapoor said. Asked why the police had arrested him, Kapoor said: “I have been told that the SSP wants to speak to me.”

Jammu range IGP K. Rajindera said: “There is no ATS in Jammu and we haven’t arrested anybody as yet, but certain names have come up after the Mumbai ATS arrested Pandey and we would be investigating those links.”

However, police sources said Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, who had already been arrested by the Mumbai ATS in connection with the Malegaon blasts, disclosed the name of Kapoor.

Senior police officers in the state have not ruled out more arrests in the coming days as an ATS team from Mumbai was expected to reach the state shortly. “We are in touch with the ATS as we expect many new names to come up during the interrogation of Pandey and Kapoor,” a senior police officer said


MHA seeks reports on Bajrang Dal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 12 
Days after various organisations raised demands to ban the Bajrang Dal for allegedly being involved in communal violence in Orissa and Karnataka, the home ministry has finally taking action.

Sources in the ministry today said the Centre has sent a letter to all state governments asking them to send details of activities of the Bajrang Dal in their respective states. It goes on to say the activities of groups like the Bajrang Dal have tarnished the image of the country internationally.

The ministry also wants to substantiate allegations that the Bajrang Dal’s involvement was not just in communal violence but for the first time its men have been linked to the recent bomb blasts in the country. 

An official spokesperson said some incidents of communal violence have taken place in certain parts of the country recently. This has led to demands for strict action against the individuals and groups involved in the incidents. “In this regard the ministry has written to the state governments and sought details of the action they may have taken,” the spokesperson added.

The home ministry says demands for taking legal action against not just the Bajrang Dal but also all such groups is mounting. So far no state has made an official request to ban the Bajrang Dal.

The idea is not just to determine the outfit’s suspected involvement in cases of communal violence but also to establish if it had any “terror linkages”. This will be like a status report from the state governments before proceeding further, officials believe.

Over the past two months there have been demands from many political parties to ban the Bajrang Dal, especially in the wake of the anti-Christian violence in Orissa that had left at least 36 persons dead and rendered thousands homeless.



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