Monday, May 13, 2013

NIA [National Investigation Agency] chargesheet to debunk ATS claims | NIA to nail Hindu radicals in Malegaon chargesheet - TNN - THE TIMES OF INDIA, MUMBAI, INDIA

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/NIA-to-nail-Hindu-radicals-in-Malegaon-chargesheet/articleshow/20020578.cms

The Times of India..

Mumbai Print Edition Headline:
NIA [National Investigation Agency] chargesheet to debunk ATS claims
TIMES OF INDIA WEBSITE HEADLINE:
NIA to nail Hindu radicals in Malegaon chargesheet


, TNN | May 13, 2013, 01.08 AM IST

MUMBAI: The country's premier anti-terror agency is set to file a chargesheet against four ultra-right Hindu activists for carrying out the 2006 Malegaon blasts. The National Investigation Agency's (NIA) probe has knocked the bottom off the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad's (ATS) case that members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India ( SIMI) had carried out the attack.

The chargesheet is expected to be filed any time this week. The blasts in the textile town on September 8, 2006, when people had gathered to observe the Shab-e-Baraat, had killed 37 people and injured 297.

The NIA, which started the probe in April 2011 on the Union home ministry's orders, has so far arrested four people — Dhan Singh, Lokesh Sharma, Manohar Singh and Rajendra Chaudhary — for the blasts. Three others, Sandeep Dange, Ramji Kalsangra and Raj Mehul, are wanted in the case. The agency says Chaudhary, Dhan Singh, Manohar Singh and Kalsangra planted the bombs.

A senior NIA official in Delhi refused to give more details citing the sensitivity of the case. Sharma, who is also an accused in the Samjhauta Express blast in 2007, and Chaudhary were members of the Bajrang Dal.

"There cannot be two sets of accused in one crime," said an NIA officer, adding the agency was examining if there was a larger conspiracy involved. Another officer said the agency might ask the court to dismiss the charges against the nine people arrested by the ATS. All were granted bail in November 2011.

On Friday, the NIA recorded the statement of Mohammed Atif, a prime witness in the case. The ATS had said Atif had witnessed the attackers making the bomb and later hid in the godown of one of the accused. Atif later told a court in his hometown in Uttar Pradesh that he was forced to give the statement.

The NIA says the decision to bomb the textile town was taken by senior members of the right-wing Hindu module, including former RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, who was later murdered allegedly by his own accomplices; Kalsangra; and Dange. Kalsangra and Sharma were tasked with the execution, and they asked Chaudhary, Dhan Singh and Manohar Singh to plant the bombs.

The agency says the team first recced Malegaon to identify targets. On the day of the blasts, Sharma drove the team to Malegaon, where Kalsangra gave them the RDX explosive and also clothes to disguise themselves as pious Muslims. Kalsangra accompanied Dhan Singh, Manohar Singh and Chaudhary to place the bombs on bicycles at spots near the Hamidiya mosque at Bada Qabristan where many people had gathered. Sharma then drove them back to Indore.

The ATS — led by then joint commissioner K P Raghuvanshi and DIG Subodh Jaiswal — filed a chargesheet in the case on December 21 the same year. It had taken just 54 days to file the chargesheet; usually it can take up to 180 days in such cases. The Central Bureau of Investigation, after its own probe, had endorsed the ATS findings.

The NIA, set up in 2009, post the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, can deal with terror-related crimes without any special permission from state governments. The agency focused on Hindu right-wing groups after a confession by Swami Aseemanand, arrested in the 2007 Hyderabad Mecca Masjid bomb blast case, it told the court last November. The agency has a Rs 10 lakh reward for Kalsangra and Dange.

Malegaon had seen another attack in 2008 allegedly by right-wing Hindu groups. Sadhvi Pragya Singh and former Lt Col Srikant Purohit were later arrested in connection with that attack.
ATS's claims in 2006

* Blasts were carried out by Muslim youths in an attempt to spark communal riots

* The RDX for the bombs came from Pakistan and a Pakistani national, Muzammil, assembled them in Malegaon

* A bomb each was planted by accused Noor-ul-Huda, Raees Ali and Abrar Ahmed

* Zahid Majeed, an imam from Yavatmal, planted a bomb and returned the same day. (About 250 Yavatmal residents filed affidavits, saying Majeed was in the town at the time)

* Shabbir Masiullah, a battery shop owner, was part of the conspiracy. (At the time of the blasts, he was in the custody of the Mumbai crime branch in another case)
NIA claims

* The RDX was procured in India. The explosives were allegedly planted by Dhan Singh, Rajender Chaudhary, Ramji Kalsangra and Manohar Singh. Dhan Singh also connected with the Samjhauta Express and 2008 Malegaon blasts

* Another Samjhauta blast accused, Lokesh Sharma, provided logistical support

* The blasts were plotted by former RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange, and others. Kalsangra and Sharma tasked with the execution

* Chaudhary, Dhan Singh and Manohar Singh recced Malegaon to identify the targets
Legal Angle

Prominent criminal lawyer Majeed Memon, who represented several 1993 bomb blast accused in court, said two ideologically diagonally opposite groups cannot be responsible for a particular terror attack. Truth cannot have two faces. "The NIA has to necessarily discharge the earlier set of boys in this case, who were wrongly believed to be involved."

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