New Delhi: Aseemanand, a key accused in several terror attacks between 2006 and 2008, has alleged that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS sanctioned these strikes, the Caravan magazine says.
Aseemanand's lawyer JS Rana has issued a statement rejecting the Caravan report and denying that the interview ever took place. "The contents of this article are false, baseless and concocted," he said, threatening legal action.
The magazine says in a series of exclusive interviews from jail, Aseemanand claimed that the 2007 attacks on the Samjhauta Express, Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Dargah in Rajasthan, and the blasts in Malegaon in 2006 and 2008, were cleared by the highest levels of the RSS, "all the way to Mohan Bhagwat, its current chief."
The RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP, and is the fountainhead of a grouping that calls itself the "Sangh Parivar." It has denied the allegations.
"Aseemanand is in jail. How can he be interviewed? We question the veracity of the conversations," said RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav.
Senior RSS leader MG Vaidya added, "All of it is a lie, imagination. Such acts will not be done by RSS. The Sangh does not tell someone to explode bombs, its job is character building, creating history. It has no connection with terror."
Swami Aseemanand, 63, an accused in all these attacks, has been in jail since 2010. He had recorded a confession before a magistrate after his arrest, but later retracted it.
The National Investigation Agency has filed charge-sheets against Aseemanand but not named any prominent RSS leader. Sources in the agency say they are not sure how the Caravan magazine's revelation can change anything.
Ahead of the national election, due by May, these allegations are likely to take a political turn. Union minister and Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said, "These are serious allegations, the home ministry must look into them. The BJP should come clean on their stand."