The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pandya ‘killers’ in terror net

Ahmedabad/New Delhi, April 19: The Gujarat government today invoked the anti-terror Act against 10 people arrested for their involvement in last month’s murder of former home minister Haren Pandya.

The government said the 10 “ISI-trained” agents had provided local support to the killer.

City police chief K.R. Kaushik said all of them, arrested by the crime branch recently, have been involved in subversive activities. Their activities “provide sufficient ground” to book them under the anti-terror law, said Kaushik. “The police have gathered sufficient evidence against them,” he added.

All 10 are from Ahmedabad.

Kaushik said one of the youths had taken the “main killer”, Asgar Ali, on his motorcycle, while another escorted them to the spot and identified Pandya. Yesterday, CBI director P.C. Sharma said Ali had pulled the trigger on the BJP leader when he was returning home after his daily morning walk.

The decision to slap anti-terror charges against the 10 comes at a time when the CBI is thinking of taking over the Jagdish Tiwari attack case from Gujarat police as investigations into the March 11 attack on the VHP leader have thrown up similarities with Pandya’s murder.

As Asgar Ali is an accused in both the cases, CBI officials believe that the conspiracy to eliminate both the leaders could have originated from the same source. Pandya was killed 15 days after the attack on Tiwari.

Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today said investigating agencies have got definite clues about the involvement of four militants in the murder of Pandya, the Mulund bomb blast in Maharashtra and the massacre of Kashmiri Pundits in Nadimarg. They would be arrested “within four days”, he said.

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