Friday, July 20, 2012

Lack of proof bails out 7 Jalna blast suspects


Rakesh Dhawade is also an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast


Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: A Jalna sessions court on Wednesday acquitted seven accused, including antique dealer Rakesh Dhawade, in the Qadriya Mosque bomb blast case due to lack of evidence. Dhawade, arrested and chargesheeted within eight hours in November 2008 in Jalna, is still in jail for his alleged role in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.
 
    Those acquitted include Yogendra Deshpande, Guru Raj, Jayaram Toptewar, Rahul Manohar Pandey, Sanjay Vitthalrao and Maruti Wagh. A bomb was hurled into the mosque on August 27, 2004. The case was later handed over to the Jalna crime branch.
 
    Dhawade was first arrested for his role in the Malegaon blast, along with Lt Col Prasad Purohit and others. “We will appeal in the high court against this acquittal,” said public prosecutor Pradip M Jadhav.
 
    Pune-based Dhawade was an arms and armour expert. He has a collection of nearly 2,000 historical artefacts and was also a consultant for the Aamir Khan-starrer Bollywood film ‘Mangal Pandey: The Rising’. Some of the rare articles in his collection are a sword — about 300 years old — with the Devi Kavacham stotra inscribed on its hilt and a 700-year-old Nepali sword belonging to a royal family. 

    After the ATS arrested Dhawade in the Malegaon case, he was handed over to the Jalna police for his alleged role in the mosque blast. The Jalna police had questioned him and filed a 56-
page chargesheet an hour later on the same day. TOI had then written about the ATS’s hasty investigation.
 
    The Jalna police had then said that Dhawade participated in a terror camp where 7-8 youths were trained. These youths were also picked up for the Nanded, Parbhani and Purna (Parbhani) blasts. Dhawade has been accused of collecting funds for the rightwing group, Abhinav Bharat.
 
    Dhawade had told the police that he was the only Indian member of the Arms and Armour Society, London. He was awarded the UK Travel Award 2000-01 by the Nehru Trust at the London museum for research on the “study and exchange of themes of conservation and preservation of historical arms and armour in the UK”.


The Times of India, July 20, 2012

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