In a shocking revelation, Special Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian, who appeared for the National Investigating Agency in the 2008 Malegaon blast case involving Hindu extremists, has said that the agency told her to go soft in the case after the new government took over at the Centre.
“An NIA officer approached me immediately after the change of government and told me in person to go soft. On June 12, he approached me for the second time and said I would no longer be appearing in the case,” Ms. Salian told reporters at the sessions court in Mumbai following her interview to a news daily.
The Malegaon 2008 blast case was a fist case in which Hindu extremists, including Lt. Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit and sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur were charge sheeted in 2009 by the ATS.
Pointing to NIA’s tardy approach, Ms. Salian said after the agency took over the case from the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad in 2011 three more accused were arrested in addition to 12 accused arrested previously.
“But all the three got bail by default, because the NIA did not file a charge sheet against them. They have not put in a single paper in court after taking over. What case we have all what the ATS has done,” she said.
Ms. Salian said on June 12 after she was asked not to appear for the NIA, she verbally communicated to the agency to denotify her appointment as Special Public Prosecutor. However, she has not sent a formal request to the agency.
“They are [targeting] me for favourable orders. There has been no unfavourable order in the case,” she said.
Four of the 12 charge sheeted accused, Shyam Sahu, Jagdish Mhatre, Shiv Narayan Gopal Singh Kalsanghra and Ajay Rahirkar have been granted bail. The bails pleas of the rest of the accused have been rejected. Purohit was the only one to challenge the rejected of his bail in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court this April expressed prima facie doubts about charging Malegaon blasts accused Sadhvi Pragnya and Purohit under the draconian Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court.
Ms. Salian also said that at a recent hearing at the Supreme Court there was major confusing over who was appearing on behalf of the State of Maharashtra.
“Senior Counsel Mariar Puttam was to appear, but Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh objected to Mr. Puttam arguing the case,” she said.
The NIA meanwhile is seeking to transfer the case to a special court with a special judge.