Malegaon Blasts: A response to clean chit given to Sadhvi Pragya; NIA gives clean chit to Sadhvi and others without conducting custodial interrogation

May 16, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Malegaon, May 13, 2016: The Malegaon terror attacks of 2006 and 2008 will soon join the growing list of heinous crimes for which nobody will be finally held accountable or punished like the Akshardham attack case or the Haren Pandya assassination etc.

It is a rather familiar script:
a. Post-crime, the Intelligence agencies and Anti Terror Squad (ATS) rapidly crack the case, arrest a few Muslims and extract confessions.
b. Pliant journalists and TV channels treat IB/ ATS leaks as sacrosanct and peddle the concocted story, pronouncing guilt, passing judgements and whipping up hysteria.
c. Independent journalists, activists and the Judiciary ask uncomfortable questions, sift the slender fact from much fiction, put IB/ ATS/ CBI in the dock.
d. Years pass and eventually the Judiciary acquits those framed, often passing strictures against the so-called investigators.
e. This results in gross miscarriage of Justice at multiple levels – those who lost their loved ones do not see the actual perpetrators punished and those who languished in jail for years on fictitious charges do not get compensated but worse – the biased & partisan investigators get away scot free to merrily continue framing others ( think Vanzara, Raghuvanshi and the likes).

Am I surprised that the Malegaon case is following the regular script? Not really, as it was widely anticipated, especially after the special prosecutor Rohini Salian was sacked after ignoring instructions by the new government to go slow on the Hindutva accused.

I’m still curious to see how they’ll exonerate Sadhvi Pragya – after all, the bomb was planted on a motorcycle owned by her! In the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, Rubina Memon was convicted as the car used to transport bombs was registered in her name ( and no, she didn’t drive the car to any of the spots). She’s now serving a life sentence for her ‘role’. If ownership of the bomb-laden vehicle is enough for a conviction, then Sadhvi and Rubina must be treated as equal before the law, a fundamental right India extends to all is citizens, not just some!

There are also multiple phone call records (pre and post blasts) between the Sadhvi and fellow conspirators (and bomb planters?), but more importantly, there are the confessions and statements, recorded in front of multiple Judicial Magistrates, admissible in trial court. How will all of that be erased and glossed over?

Will Malegaon ever get Justice? What do you think?

NIA gives clean chit to Sadhvi and others without conducting custodial interrogation

Mumbai, May 13, 2016: In a controversial development, India’s elite National Investigation Agency (NIA) today gave clean chit to 6 accused, including Sadhvi Pragya Thakur in Malegaon 2008 blasts case sighting lack of prosecutable evidences against them.

However, one would be amazed to know that NIA never conducted custodial interrogation of any of the accused in the case.

On September 29, 2008 blast had taken place at Bhiku square opposite Shakil Goods Transport Company in a textile town Malegaon. The blast was caused by LML Freedom motorcycle with explosives concealed inside. 4 people had dead and 79 injured due to the blast.

NIA was investigating the case since five years and today it submitted charge sheet before the special NIA court in Mumbai against 10 accused and specifically said prosecution is not maintainable against 6 other accused.

The accused against whom charges are annihilated includes Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur amongst five others – Shiv Narayan Kalsangra, Shyam Bhavarlal Sahu, Praveen Takkalki, Lokesh Sharma and Dhan Singh Choudhury.

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur was the first arrest when Maharshtra ATS headed by late Hemant Karkare investigated the case in 2008 as the LML bike used in the blasts was registered under her name and all other accused including col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit were subsequently arrested on her interrogation.

Arresting total 12 people belonging to right wing organization Abhinaw Bharat for the blasts ATS filed charge sheet against them on January 30, 2009. A supplementary charge sheet was filed by ATS on April 21, 2011.

Ministry of Home Affairs transferred investigation of the case from state ATS to NIA with the order dated April 1, 2011 following which NIA registered a fresh FIR under its police station on April 13, 2011.

NIA initially interrogated these accused separately inside Taloja Central Jail in the presence of jailor. Then it felt need of custodial interrogation of accused and hence NIA applied for custodial interrogation of three accused Purohit, Dwivedi and Upadhyay before special MCOCA court. The special judge Y D Shinde on July 19, 2011 allowed NIA custody of these accused for 8 days between July 22, 2011 to July 30, 2011.

These accused appealed against such order before Bombay High Court and secured temporary stay till it decides the matter. The Bombay High Court later on upheld special court’s order on October 20, 2011 and allowed NIA to conduct custodial interrogation of these accused.

The accused immediately appealed this order too before Supreme Court (SLP 9303/2011) and got operation of it stayed till Supreme Court finally decides the appeal. That means NIA’s plea for custody of the three main accused in the blasts viz. Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, Sudhakar Udaybhan Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey and Major (retd) Ramesh Upadhyaya is pending before Supreme Court since November 2011.

NIA never conducted custodial interrogation of any of the accused in last five years nor did it confronted accused to unearth conspiracy and individual roles played by them in the blasts. After hearing the matter for nearly 40 months, divisional bench of Supreme Court reserved its judgment on February 24, 2015 and its been over 14 months but the Supreme Court has not pronounced its order.

But never did we hear from NIA that it’s plea for custodial interrogation of the accuse d is pending before Supreme Court, perhaps it has now become unenergetic to seriously follow the investigation of the case.
In the absence of custodial interrogation and confrontation NIA’s clean chit to six accused, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur raises substantial doubt over agency’s professionalism and autonomy in handling the case.

One is bound to ask a basic question on what basis then NIA provided clean chit to these accused who were never interrogated in custody nor were confronted before each other.

This gives rise to one another question as to why NIA is in a hurry to give clean chit when these three main accused in the case who had close proximity with Sadhvi Pragya, who had exchanged messages soon after her arrest expressing fear, are yet to be confronted before each other in a custodial interrogation.

It is beyond imagination that NIA can ever give clean chit to a terrorist or an accused of ‘blasts’ without even taking him/her under its custody, is this not a clear case of working under the boss for NIA?

– tcn

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