Staff Reporter

Nashik court remands them to police custody till November 10

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad has arrested three more suspects in connection with the Malegaon blasts of September 29.

Ajay Eknath Rahirkar (39), Jagdish Chintaman Mhatre (40) and Rakesh Dattaram Dhawde (42) were produced in a Nashik court, which remanded them to police custody till November 10, ATS chief Hemant Karkare told journalists here on Monday

Rahirkar was looking after the financial affairs of the suspects earlier arrested by the ATS. He provided finance to Sameer Kulkarni.

Mr. Karkare said Rahirkar gave money to Dhawde for procuring weapons. The ATS seized six imported weapons — Luger, Webley and Scott, a .32 pistol and Smith and Wesson and 190 rounds — which had been procured from Mhatre.

ATS counsel Ajay Misar said a timer was also recovered. He said the suspects were charged under the Arms Act. Rahirkar and Dhawde are residents of Pune from where they were arrested. Mhatre was arrested from Dombivili in Thane district, where he was residing.

“Rahirkar’s name came up during the interrogation of the earlier suspects. His interrogation threw up links to Dhawde and Mhatre,” said Mr. Karkare.

The ATS chief declined to share details of the suspects’ involvement in the blast and their roles.

He also objected to the rampant media speculation. “Some reports in the media are not based on facts,” he said.

On the role of the Pune-based Abhinav Bharat, which has come under the scanner as suspect Ramesh Upadhyay is believed to have had links with it, Mr. Karkare said that as per a complaint, there were two organisations with the same name. The complaint was about the wrongful implication of the organisation (not specified which one) in the blast, he said.

Meanwhile, members of the Abhinav Bharat and the Shiv Sena staged a protest outside the Nashik court, where three suspects Sadhvi Pragnya Singh, Shiv Narayan Gopal Singh Kalsanghra and Shyam Bhawarlal Sahu were produced.

Narco test today

Mr. Misar said the Sadhvi would be shifted to the Byculla jail in Mumbai as a narco test was to be done on her on Tuesday.