The Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested an accused in the Ajmer Dargah blast that took place in 2007 from Gujarat’s Bharuch on Sunday, a report by Indian Express stated. Suresh Nair, who had been on the run for 11 years, had had a reward of Rs. 2 lakh by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The ATS, quoted by the IE report, said that Nair had allegedly supplied bombs that were planted at the famed Sufi shrine, which killed three persons and injured 17 others on October 11, 2007. He was also allegedly present at the spot when the bomb was planted.
ATS officials said that he was alleged to have been associated with several Hindu religious outfits, including RSS and had been evading arrest soon after his name popped up during the investigation, according to the report.
Over the last decade, he changed his name to “Uday Guruji” and was living in disguise of a “sant”, a religious man. He is listed among the “most wanted” men on the NIA website, the report said.
Nair was arrested while he was performing a religious ritual called Narmada Parikrama at Shukaltirth fair in Bharuch district, said the ATS, as per the report.
“The operation was based on human intelligence. We came to know that Suresh would be coming to Shukaltirth in Bharuch. Accordingly, we sent a team to the place and kept a watch. He arrived two days ago, and his whole appearance had changed. He had a full beard and long hair like a sadhu,” said a senior ATS officer, who was part of the team that arrested Nair, as quoted in the report.
“We had got a sketch of his present look which was similar to how he looks now,” said another officer in the report.
A statement released by the ATS stated, “A team of ATS Gujarat had successfully identified Suresh Nair on his arrival at the place today (Sunday) morning and apprehended the said accused.”
After he was apprehended from Bharuch, Nair was shifted to Ahmedabad for further investigation, the ATS said, adding that he would be handed over to the NIA, the report stated.
The arrest is considered significant as it is the first arrest of an absconding accused in terror cases of 2006-08 involving right wing Hindutva groups under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule. During those times, due to witnesses turning hostile, the cases fell in the courts.