Malegaon case: Congress wants SC-monitored probe

Updated - November 17, 2021 05:04 am IST

Published - May 15, 2016 06:18 pm IST - New Delhi

A file photo of Congress Anand Sharma. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

A file photo of Congress Anand Sharma. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

The Congress on Sunday said the fresh charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the 2008 Malegaon blast case has put a question mark on India’s commitment to fight terror and demanded that the probe should be monitored by the Supreme Court.

The Opposition party asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to uphold his Constitutional oath by letting the Supreme Court monitor the case.

The NIA has become ‘Namo Investigation Agency’, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said at a press conference in New Delhi while contending that the charge sheet appears to be aimed at “decimating and demolishing” the “meticulous” probe conducted by Mumbai ATS, led by late Hemant Karkare.

He claimed the agency dropped Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MACOCA) charges to see that all the statements recorded by the ATS become inadmissible as evidence.

Mr. Sharma demanded Supreme Court-monitored probe in the “sudden reversal” of the stance that has led to exoneration of six accused, including Sadhvi Pragya, and “dilution” of the case against the remaining accused on account of withdrawal of MACOCA and other offences.

“The developments have raised question mark on the integrity of India and its commitment to fight the forces of terror, having taken this position that India is a victim of organised terrorism, the targeted victim over decades, India is determined to fight terrorism, we condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestation,” the former Minister said.

Mr. Sharma questioned the government whether, with the fresh NIA stance, it is “negating” Karkare’s “sacrifice”. He demanded that Mr. Modi himself should intervene in the matter.

He accused the government of “consistently” trying to save those who follow their ideology or belong to their associated outfits and are faced with charges.

“...(it goes on to) show that the earlier probes, charges which were filed and arrests made were all wrong. The fact is, the steps were taken only after proper probe. We have always maintained that, with lot of seriousness, that terrorism and crime have no caste and religion,” he added.

Mr. Sharma, deputy leader of Congress in the Rajya Sabha, also accused the government of intervening in functioning of all the arms like investigative agencies, prosecution and judiciary dealing with the explosion case.

In this context, he cited the claim made by former special public prosecutor in the matter Rohini Salian last year that she was “pressurised to go soft” on the accused in the case.

Ms. Salian, he said, was removed by the BJP government and NIA, in the wake of her claims.

The “same story” has repeated itself again as the current special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal too has stated that he was “not even informed” about filing of the charge sheet by NIA on Saturday, the Congress leader said.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesperson R.P.N. Singh, who also addressed the press conference, referred to reports of Colonel P.S. Purohit, an accused in the matter, writing to NSA Ajit Doval allegedly seeking the latter’s intervention in the case, and said it was a matter of concern.

“I want to know how many letters the NSA receives from such terrorists and has he forwarded it to the Home Ministry for action? If this is the internal security of the country, if this is how the terror cases will be politicised, then it is a matter of concern,” he said.

Mr. Singh noted the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had set up the NIA and ensured it remained above political interference “as terrorism can not be compromised with.”

“This is the first time we see that such terror plots which hurt the very heart and soul of this country are being manipulated by the government and people who gave up their lives to protect the very idea of this country are being postured as wrong and people who tried to destroy this country their allegations are being held as being true,” he added.

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