Wednesday, July 1, 2015

‘I Know My Responsibility, I Can Prove What I Have Said About the NIA’ Interview with Rohini Salian

transcript of the interview Rohini Salian, the Mumbai special prosecutor retained by the National Investigation Agency to handle the Malegaon 2008 bomb blast case involving Hindutva extremists, gave Sreenivasan Jain of NDTV on her allegation that the NIA asked her to go “soft” on the accused. The interview was telecast on June 29, 2015.

Sreenivasan Jain: Hello and welcome to this NDTV exclusive. The Malegaon blast case of 2008  has been at the centre of a controversy ever since the anti-terror squad in Maharashtra probing it alleged that it was Hindutva extremists behind the blast. Now, even after the NIA has taken over the case, a fresh controversy has surrounded this particular investigation, with allegations being made by none other than a special prosecutor handling the case, Rohini Salian, that she has been asked to go soft on the case since there has been a change of regime. The NIA forces rebutted this but lets get Rohini Salian to respond to all these questions in what is her first exclusive television interview, here in her chambers in Mumbai. Thank you very much indeed ma’am for joining us.

Rohini Salian: Thank you

Sreenivasan Jain: Now you said in your first interview that you were asked to go soft in this particular case by someone in the NIA. The NIA has subsequently come out and said that they have checked and no such officer has given you such instructions. But you still stand by this?
Rohini Salian: Yes, I still stand by it. I swear by it.

Sreenivasan Jain: You swear by it?
Rohini Salian: Yes.

Sreenivasan Jain: You swear by what exactly?
Rohini Salian:  What I have said.

Sreenivasan Jain: Yes, but just for the record if you could repeat it. What exactly happened?
Rohini Salian: Yes, somebody has come to me and told me to go soft.

Sreenivasan Jain: And this person was who?
Rohini Salian: From NIA

Sreenivasan Jain: A member of the NIA?
Rohini Salian: Yes.

Sreenivasan Jain: And when did this happen exactly?
Rohini Salian: Initially it happened somewhere in between May and June last year.

Sreenivasan Jain:  Between May and June last year?
Rohini Salian: Yes.

Sreenivasan Jain: So this is somewhere last year, after the government changed in new Delhi.?
Rohini Salian:  Yes

Sreenivasan Jain: I see, and what did this gentlemen say to you exactly? I mean did he say just to go soft or did he elaborate? Who has given him these instructions?
Rohini Salian: No, he has not elaborated. He only called me first, that he wanted to meet me. Then I called him. He came to our court and in the court itself, in the corridor he told me about it..

Sreenivasan Jain:  And he said that…?
Rohini Salian: He said that it is instruction from up. I don’t know who is that.

Sreenivasan Jain: Instruction from above…?
Rohini Salian:  Yes

Sreenivasan Jain: But he didn’t clarify what he meant by doing so
Rohini Salian: No

Sreenivasan Jain: And who is this gentlemen in the NIA who told you this?
Rohini Salian: I don’t want to name him.

Sreenivasan Jain: But if it comes to it, will you be able to prove it?
Rohini Salian: Yes

Sreenivasan Jain: You will be able to prove it.?
Rohini Salian: Yes

Sreenivasan Jain: And how will you be able to prove the fact that this incident took place?
Rohini Salian: At this stage I don’t want to reveal it.

Sreenivasan Jain: Okay. I am only asking you this because the matter could escalate in the court.
Rohini Salian: Yes I understand

Sreenivasan Jain: With the NIA contesting it
Rohini Salian: I know my responsibility. That I am accountable to public.

Sreenivasan Jain: Now tell me, the NIA has also said that this case is not even reached the trial stage yet, so where is the question of going soft? To that what would say?
Rohini Salian: So I have been arguing this matter during the ATS also, right from day one, all bail applications, all miscellaneous applications, and all applications, I have been drafting the replies as well as arguing the matter. Right from beginning, even after NIA took over, I was asked in writing to continue. So where is the question of beginning trial? Because all issues are very important at this stage also, it is the question of retaining MCOCA and allowing them to go on bail.

Sreenivasan Jain: So even now there are very important aspects of the case which have to be determined like whether or not the Maharashtra Organized Crime Act will apply to this particular case, whether the accused will go on bail
Rohini Salian: Correct

Sreenivasan Jain: So one can’t say that this is some unimportant time
Rohini Salian: No. This is the most crucial time, I would say.

Sreenivasan Jain: But you are saying, and this is again something which is very significant, you are saying that that this whole shift has happened, you said, after the new government took charge. You sensed some sort of change in mood. What exactly has changed, and one thing I want to ask you, why are you bringing this up now? That is what people are asking.
Rohini Salian: Correct. Because at that stage I felt.. it’s not my.. I should say something about it unless I have enough proof.  So it may be an instruction. One doesn’t know. But ‘soft’ – I don’t know what exactly is the meaning of ‘soft’. Because by then I argued all the matters, all the matters were pending in the Supreme Court. So there was no question of arguing also.

Sreenivasan Jain: So what triggered it? What exactly then provoked you to go public? You were waiting for evidence?
Rohini Salian: Yes. Finally the matter was decided in the Supreme Court. All the issues were pending and it has come back now. Now it’s the time to go in to trial, exactly leading evidence and all.

Sreenivasan Jain: This is the most important time?
Rohini Salian: Yes. And the direction of the honorable Supreme Court is go for a special court, special judge, every direction is there. So that means the trial will commence soon. So at this stage, there is somebody coming and saying that now your service are not required, it’s very clear.. at this stage I felt something very very serious is going on. So I felt I should tell this to the general public.

Sreenivasan Jain: I see, this is when you are referring to the fact that someone came to you and said that now the NIA no longer need your services?
Rohini Salian: Correct.

Sreenivasan Jain: This happened when? In this month itself ?
Rohini Salian: In June.

Sreenivasan Jain: In June, the current month.
Rohini Salian: Because 2 days earlier to the regular date, I was approached by the same officer and he said, this is instruction from up, so somebody else will appear in  this matter. I said okay, there is no problem. In fact I told him, ” I expected this, good you have told me earlier.”

Sreenivasan Jain: Did he give any explanation? Why you have being removed?
 Rohini Salian:  No. I did ask him whether there is something in writing. He said ‘No’. Then I said, I don’t mind. I will not appear henceforth in any of the matters which were pending also. Like I had appeared in one matter for….

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