Agency requested to see into Swami Aseemanand's confession — where it was his or his group's

Spurred by demands from various quarters to release the accused in the 2006 Malegaon bomb blast case, Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil on Monday said the government was sending a letter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) requesting the agency to look into the confession of Swami Aseemanand and examine if his statement was made as an individual or if it was the stated position of the organisation he is affiliated to.

After Swami Aseemanand's confession on November 18, 2010 where he has indicted RSS pracharaks and also spoke about his involvement in terror activities, the Home Minister had a meeting with some delegations of the families of the accused and agreed that the matter should be re examined.

Swami Aseemanand, who was arrested by the CBI from Haridwar in November, in his confession admitted to having planned terror attacks on Ajmer Sharif, Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and the Samjhauta Express. Now there is new evidence in the case and in the light of that the State government wanted the CBI to take suitable action, official sources said.

Mr. Patil told journalists that many delegations had sought the release of the nine persons under trial in the Malegaon blast case and the government wished to wait till it had ascertained what there was in Swami Aseemanand's confession. He said the delegations had also demanded a ban on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Without taking the name of any specific organisation, Mr. Patil said any organisation which was involved in terrorism should be banned. Additionally he had asked the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) to give information on groups associated with terror attacks in the State. He also said that if an individual carried out certain activities, the organisation cannot be blamed unless it was the stated policy of that organisation.

Supporting the demand for re-examining the case of the nine accused in the Malegaon case, Maharashtra Minority Affairs Minister Arif Naseem Khan said the families of the accused have been protesting for long that they were innocent. If they are innocent, they should be freed, Mr. Khan said.

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Mr. Khan said the Andhra Pradesh government had acquitted innocent boys arrested for terror attacks and even compensated their families. The Maharashtra government should follow suit and compensate families of the wrongfully arrested men.

Kamaal Jehan's husband Shabbir Masiullah (42) was picked up on August 3, 2006, even before the Malegaon blast. She said that the last five years were tough and she had to raise four children. While Shabbir's family was supportive, she said her husband was arrested on false pretences. “We have met so many people, even Home Minister P. Chidambaram, yet nothing has happened. If my husband is innocent, he should be released immediately,” she demanded. “We knew they were all innocent and now it is proved,” said Kamaal.

Iqbal Magdumi, whose son Dr. Farooq , a Unani doctor, is an accused, said that he used to treat the people in the area and the police said he was having secret meetings and they were members of a banned outfit Students Islamic Movement of India. First they said Shabbir was accused in the Mumbai train blast case and later changed that to Malegaon, his brother Jamil pointed out. They were illegally detained, then falsely charged and now they should be released after spending five years in jail for a crime they did not commit, he said.

The CBI will primarily be investigating the revelations in Swami Aseemanand's confession statement.

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