LAHORE - India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has formally arrested Lokesh Sharma, 35, already in judicial custody in connection with the Samjhota Express bombing case, for his alleged role in the 2008 Malegaon blast on February 27, reports said on Tuesday.

India established NIA to combat terror and empowered it to deal with terror-related crimes without permission from  states.  Sharma confessed his involvement in the blasts and claimed that he planted one of the four suitcase bombs in the passenger coach along with Kamal Chauhan. Of the four bombs, two exploded, one was defused and another was seized by the police, he said.

Sharma also made shocking revelations that the bombs were manufactured by Ramji Kalsangra and Amit at the former’s house in lndore and the explosives/articles were sourced by Sandeep Dange and slain RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi.

RSS leader lndresh Kumar was also introduced to him and others (Ramji, Sandeep, Sadhvi Pragya), Sharma added.

The NIA, which is also handling several terror cases, including the Malegaon blast of 2006 and 2008, Samjhota Express blast, in its charge-sheet had claimed that Samjhota Express bombing was masterminded by Sandeep Dange.  However, Sharma is the second person after Swami Aseemanand who has claimed Sunil Joshi’s proximity to lndresh.

Lokesh Sharma become important with Joshi being described as the mastermind behind all Hindu terror cases.

The confession by accused Lokesh Sharma is yet another evidence of involvement of Hindu terrorists in Samjhota Express blasts which were deliberately alleged to be work of lSl-sponsored terrorists.