After Malegaon, Ajmer Blast Case Faces Allegations of Sabotage // Witnesses turn hostile in Samjhauta case as well

NB: To be expected - the open sabotage of the criminal justice system proceeds apace. And its not just linked to communal terrorism - also in today's news is the story that a journalist covering the Vyapam scam in MP has suddenly died. Keep silent at your own peril: DS
"The masterminds of the 26/11 attacks are treated like heroes in Pakistan. We are not there yet, but if hidden hands nudge the judicial system to free murderers of the saffron variety, we will be soon" - Julio Rebeiro
JAIPUR/NEW DELHI:  In a major blow to the National Investigating Agency's Ajmer blast trial, 13 crucial prosecution witnesses have now turned hostile and gone back on their testimonies. In October 2007, a bomb blast in the holy Ajmer Dargah killed three and wounded more than a dozen. The Rajasthan Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) and later the NIA chargesheeted 12 people who were present and former members of the RSS, or belonging to fringe groups.

This same group of zealots are accused of a wave of what came to be known as "Saffron Terror" bombings through 2007, setting off deadly explosions in Muslim-dominated areas like the Ajmer Dargah, the town of Malegaon and the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad.

"The whole case of the prosecution depended upon these star witnesses," said Ashwini Sharma, the assistant public prosecutor of the Ajmer blast case. "And all those who gave the statement, under Section 164 (of the Code of Criminal Procedure), in front of the magistrate, all turned hostile in court."

Significantly, their statements - now retracted - were recorded in before a judicial magistrate to ensure there is no pressure from investigators. But starting in November 2014, they began to turn hostile claiming that they were pressured by the NIA to testify. The last such flip by a witness was in May 2015. 
But Mr Sharma told NDTV that he "had asked every single witness if they had ever complained to the court that the ATS had pressurised them. They said that they had never got an opportunity to complain to anyone."

Significantly, one of the witnesses who has done a u-turn is Randheer Singh, now a minister in the BJP's Jharkhand government. According to Mr Sharma, Mr Singh claimed in his testimony to the ATS to have seen Mr Gupta and Sunil Joshi (also accused in three other blast cases) test fire a weapon.

But according to Mr Sharma, Randheer Singh turned hostile in May this year. Just four months ago, Mr Singh defected to the BJP from the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) and was made a minister. "Originally Singh had said that the accused test-fired a revolver, but in court he denied making such a statement," said Mr Kumar. Mr Singh however told NDTV that he has not made any such retraction.

NIA sources told NDTV that there was no pressure on any witnesses. "Our job is to investigate. We cannot control the stand taken by witnesses," said a senior NIA official. All 13 witnesses were either RSS workers or functionaries, according to Mr Kumar, who examined them in court.

The BJP refused to comment but RSS ideologue Rakesh Mishra told NDTV that the change in witness stands only showed that the case was politically motivated. "All these cases are a political conspiracy against the RSS," said Mishra. "It is the right of the witnesses to withdraw if they were under pressure."

"The fact remains that once BJP government comes in, these cases (involving RSS members) will be diluted and put on hold," said Digvijaya Singh, senior leader of the Congress party. "This is part of larger conspiracy at a higher level." The Ajmer probe has been mired in controversy ever since the chargesheet named Indresh Kumar, National Executive Council member of the RSS, as a part of the conspiracy.

According to the NIA's chargesheet, he attended a secret meeting in Jaipur's Gujarati Samaj guest house just before the Ajmer blasts, where all the accused were staying. In the meeting, Indresh Kumar is said to have told the plotters to associate themselves with religious associations to avoid suspicion. But he was never included as an accused, for reasons that remain unclear.

This latest revelation, of witnesses turning hostile, is likely to add to the controversy surrounding cases of "Saffron Terror". Earlier this week, Rohini Salian, special public prosecutor in the Malegaon case where again Sangh Parivar members are accused had said since the government changed she has been asked to go soft on the case by an NIA official.

See also:
"The masterminds of the 26/11 attacks are treated like heroes in Pakistan. We are not there yet, but if hidden hands nudge the judicial system to free murderers of the saffron variety, we will be soon"
The psychology of hate: How we deny human beings their humanity
Travesty of justice - Bombay High court refuses bail to artists of Kabir Kala Manch in jail for two years without trialNB: I am adding a citation from an important book on Nazism by Franz Neumann, written in the 1930's, Behemoth, The Structure and Practice of National SocialismNew York, republished 1963, p 27. A pdf file may be read here: <  Here is the citation: (The counter revolution) ‘…tried many forms and devices, but soon learned that it could come to power only with the help of the state machine and never against it… the Kapp Putsch of 1920 and the Hitler Pustch of 1923 had proved this.. In the centre of the counter revolution stood the judiciary. Unlike administrative acts, which rest on considerations of convenience and expediency, judicial decisions rest on law, that is on right and wrong, and they always enjoy the limelight of publicity.Law is perhaps the most pernicious of all weapons in political struggles, precisely because of the halo that surrounds the concepts of right and justice… ‘Right’, Hocking has said, ‘is psychologically a claim whose infringement is met with a resentment deeper than the injury would satisfy, a resentment that may amount to passion for which men will risk life and property as they would never do for an expediency’. When it becomes ‘political’, justice breeds hatred and despair among those it singles out for attack. Those whom it favours, on the other hand, develop a profound contempt for the very value of justice, they know that it can be purchased by the powerful. As a device for strengthening one political group at the expense of others, for eliminating enemies and assisting political allies, law then threatens the fundamental convictions upon which the tradition of our civilization rests…

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