Friday, May 13, 2016

Malegaon case gets the Right dose of dilution; Sadhvi Pragya discharged // Rohini Salian reveals NIA officer who asked her to 'go soft'

NB: Few of our opinion-makers have noticed the sinister significance of the appearance of the RSS chief alongside Ex-DIG Vanzara (out on bail after nearly 8 years in prison on fake encounter charges) on April 10, 2016. This is an example of the 'Parivar' proclaiming its justification for extra-judicial killings. The only comment I have seen is by Apoorvanand, on April 15, which is a very important analysis. What is taking place all over South Asia is the dissolution of the distinction between lawful and unlawful violence; the takeover of state institutions by private armies - or the undermining of these institutions by a mix of communal bias and fear. In a word, the systematic criminalisation of the state

PREM SHANKAR JHA Fake Encounters Sowed the Wind and India is Reaping the Whirlwind
Sadhvi Pragya escapes the law, Hemant Karkare's image takes hit
Malegaon blast case: ATS cited Sadhvi’s phone call, strategy meeting and a bike, NIA rejected all 

Meanwhile the efforts of the RSS/BJP to alter the basic structure of the constitution continue unabated after the rejection of their NJAC scheme - the Supreme Court has done well to reject the latest such scheme -DS

Malegaon case gets the Right dose of dilution; Sadhvi Pragya discharged
In a complete U-turn, the NIA on Friday dropped all charges against Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and five others in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, while charges under the stringent MCOCA law have been given up against all the other 10 accused, including Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit. During investigation, "sufficient evidences have not been found against" Pragya Singh Thakur and five others, the NIA said, adding it has submitted in the chargesheet "that the prosecution against them is not maintainable".

Seven people were killed in twin blasts when people were coming out of prayers during Ramzan in 29 September 2008. There have been a lot of twists and turns in the probe into the Malegaon blasts that was described as a handiwork of people associated with Hindu right wing groups. The case was investigated initially by Joint Commissioner of Mumbai's ATS Hemant Karkare, who was killed during the 26/11 Mumbai attack. Before the NIA took over the case in 2011, ATS had booked 16 people but filed chargesheets on 20 January 2009 and 21 April 2011 against 14 accused in a Mumbai court.

Purohit and Pragya had moved several applications before Bombay High Court and Supreme Court challenging the chargesheet and applicability of stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the case. Shiv Narayan Kalsangra, Shyam Bhavarlal Sahu, Praveen Takkalki, Lokesh Sharma and Dhan Singh Choudhury are the other five accused against whom charges have been dropped besides Sadhvi.

The agency also said during investigation that it has been established that no offence is attracted in this case under the Maharashtra Control of Crimes Act (MCOCA), in which any statement given before a SP level officer is admissible as an evidence. "In furtherance of same, the confessional statements recorded under provisions of MCOC Act by ATS Mumbai have not been relied up on by the NIA in submitting the present Final report," the agency said in its chargesheet.

Lt Col Purohit and nine others will now be tried for charges including murder and conspiracy under the provisions of anti-terror law UAPA, IPC, Arms Act and Explosives Substance Act. Director General of NIA Sharad Kumar told reporters today there was no dilution in the case. Asked about the stand taken by the agency in the past when it had opposed the bail plea of Sadhvi and others even in the Supreme Court, he said "till our investigation was not complete, we had to go by the probe done by the ATS. Now that we have completed the investigations, we have submitted our final report (chargesheet)".

The chargesheet was today submitted by public prosecutor Geeta Godambe before Special Judge S D Tekale here. Special Public Prosecutor in the case Avinash Rasal said he was not informed about the filing of the chargesheet (by the NIA). "I am hurt and I may resign from the case", Rasal said.

The Congress attacked the NIA decision to drop charges against Sadhvi Praygya and five others besides diluting the case against Lt Col and nine other accused. Senior leader Digvijay Singh said "as I had predicted BJP and RSS have started the process of saving the Sangh Activists involved in Terror Cases." "Was the DG of NIA given extension for this?" he asked. Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju dismissed the allegation saying government does not interfere in the investigation by the agencies. "We allow agencies to work independently," he said.

Rohini Salian reveals NIA officer who asked her to 'go soft'
More than three months after special public prosecutor Rohini Salian alleged that she was pressurised to go soft on the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, she has revealed the name of the officer who asked her to do so, according to this report in The Indian ExpressThe Indian Express reported that Salian, in her affidavit filed before the Bombay High Court, said SP in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Suhas Warke had pressurised her and told her not to pursue the 2008 blast case. A case related to contempt proceedings against the NIA for 'tending to hamper the judicial process' is being heard in the High Court currently.

Salian had made the revelations in June this year, saying at the time 'an officer' had given her the message asking her to go soft in the case, in which right-wing Hindu extremists are alleged to be involved. The NIA official had also told her that there were orders from higher-ups for another prosecutor to be appointed in the case, she was reported to have said. However, last month, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the NIA and the home ministry, denied the allegations in the Supreme Court, another Indian Express report said.

Salian's statement in an affidavit filed before a court comes even as a special NIA court rejected the bail applications of four accused in the case, including prime accused Lt Col Prasad Purohit, as reported by Mumbai Mirror. The accused had alleged a 'deep rooted conspiracy' to implicate them, the report says. Warke, a 2000 batch IPS officer, was appointed as Deputy Inspector General (DIG) in the NIA by the Union Home Ministry in March this year. The investigation in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case had led to a new look at several other terror cases, including the 2006 Malegaon blasts, the Ajmer blasts, the Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad and the Samjhauta Express blast.

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"