Thursday, November 29, 2012

CBI may have erred in Malegaon [bomb-blast] probe - By Deeptiman Tiwary - Times New Network

CBI may have erred in Malegaon probe

Outgoing Chief Denies Govt Pawn Charge
Deeptiman Tiwary TNN

New Delhi:Outgoing CBI director A P Singh on Wednesday admitted that there may have been errors in the agencys investigation of the 2006 Malegaon blasts,where nine alleged SIMI men were initially arrested by Maharashtra ATS only to be later bailed out after the role of Hindu extremists came to light.

He,however,denied that the agency was used by the government to coerce allies and opponents,saying cases involving political heavyweights like BSP leader Mayawati and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav are in the courts and the agency has nothing to do with them.

The Malegaon case had seen some sensational developments after Swami Aseemanand,close to the Abhinav Bharat group,confessed that the blasts were carried out by the Hindu outfit.The blasts case was handed over to CBI by the Maharashtra government in December 2006,on the same day that the ATS filed a chargesheet against the nine arrested men.In February,2010,CBI filed a supplementary chargesheet,almost toeing the ATS line.

Post-Aseemanands confession,CBI started a reinvestigation in the case in 2011 on the saffron terror line before the case was handed over to National Investigation Agency.

On the two lines of investigations,Singh said,At that time (during the first investigation ) there was not even a hint of Hindu terror angle.However,after the Aseemanand confession,new information was revealed and the agency began to act on this information.Now the case is with the NIA.Once it completes its investigation,we will know what,if any,mistakes were made by the CBI.

On charges of the government using the CBI for political ends,Singh said,Nobody can direct us.We investigate our cases and take them to court.I will maintain CBI is not a handmaiden of the government.I keep hearing that Mayawati and Mulayam are manipulated through CBI.All cases against them are now with the court.We have nothing to do with them.

Singh,however,agreed that there was a perception that CBI was a whip wielded by the government and this needed to be addressed.The best way to do that would be making the appointment of CBI director through the collegium system.That way,no one will allege that the CBI chief is a government appointee, Singh said.

Interestingly,his successor Ranjit Sinhas appointment has been hit by a controversy with BJP leaders arguing that the decision should be kept on hold until the collegium system recommended by the select committee on the Lokpal bill is implemented.

Cases involving UP chieftains Mayawati and Mulayam Singh,who are important outside supporters of the government,have made news in the past with the CBI reported to have changed its position before the court.Singhs remarks may indicate that the cases are now beyond any intervention.

On the issue of extending the CBI directors tenure,Singh said,It takes one year just to understand what is happening.By the time one puts things in motion,the tenure is over.If I had more time,I could have accomplished a few more things such as filling all the vacancies,posting my officers abroad for speedy processing of letter rogatories (LRs) and get a state-of-the-art forensics laboratory sanctioned.

The outgoing director said he was satisfied with the way CBI was functioning but stressed that the agency needed to speed up investigations.For that to be achieved,LR processes have to be quick and government needs to expedite sanctions, he added.

A P Singh said the NIA investigation would reveal what mistakes,if any,were made by the CBI in the 2006

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