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Dayanand Pandey -- godman or terror suspect?

November 13, 2008
Self-claimed religious leader Dayanand Pandey, who is allegedly involved in the Malegaon blast conspiracy, is being brought by a joint team of Maharashtra police and central security agencies to Nashik where he will be produced before a court. However, much confusion prevails over his identity.

While the court order issued for his arrest by the chief judicial magistrate of Nasik names him as Dayanand Pandey, his interrogation by ATS sleuths revealed that his real name was Sudhakar Dwivedi.

However, as the head of the Jammu-based Sharda Sarvagya Peeth, he was better known as Swami Amritanand. According to ATS sources, "the 36-year-old seer originally hails from Varanasi which he left several years ago." Jammu & ashmir police sources say Pandey had been a regular visitor to the Kashmir Valley as well winter capital Jammu since 2003.

Sources also claim that it was during his 2003 visit to the Valley that he met Lt Col Srikanth Purohit, who was posted in a counter insurgency unit of the Rashtriya Rifles then. Purohit has since been arrested for his alleged involvement in Malegaon blast.

Image: File photo of Swami Amritanand alias Dayanand Pandey, who was arrested in Kanpur by the ATS on Wednesday, for his alleged role in the Malegaon blast.
Photographs: PTI Photo

Also read: 'There is no such thing as Hindu terrorism'

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