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Govt trying to save BJP-RSS members involved in terror cases : Congress
By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: In the wake of severe remarks against the National Investigation Agency (NIA) by a Mumbai Special Court in the Malegaon blast case, the opposition Congress party on Wednesday reiterated the demand of removing NIA chief from his position immediately and re-appointment of Rohini Salian as special public prosecutor in the case. Accusing the Modi government of trying to save RSS-BJP members involved in terror cases, the party said the court remarks vindicated it observation the NIA has become ‘Namo Investigation Agency’ and lost its credibility.
Addressing media persons here, Congress Spokesperson, Shobha Oza said the Modi government is playing with the security of the nation as it has been trying to save the prime accused in the bomb blast cases having affiliation with the BJP or RSS from the day one after coming to power at the centre.
She asked that Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh should explain to the country that in their Government who is the ‘manipulative hand’ in this case and carrying out the miscarriage of justice.
It is to mention that a Special Court in Mumbai came down heavily on the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for not investigating the role of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case and for re-recording of the statements of witnesses recorded earlier by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). The court observed there were reasonable grounds to believe that the charges against her were prima facie true and rejected her bail plea.
Ironically in its charge sheet, the NIA had said there was no case made out against Sadhvi Pragya. Seven people were killed in the blast at Malegaon on September 29, 2008. Sadhvi Pragya was charged in 2009 by the ATS which said it was her motorcycle that was used to plant the bomb. On Tuesday, Special Judge S D Tekale said Sadhvi Pragya “cannot avoid her connection with the motorcycle” registered in her name and used in the blast.
The Court’s observations are a damning statement on the way the Malegaon blast case is being handled by the NIA. Earlier investigations done by the Maharashtra ATS under Martyred officer Hemant Karkare was rubbished by the NIA terming it ‘Dubious’ and ‘Questionable’. This clearly was an attempt to malign an officer of impeccable integrity.
In 2015, Rohini Salian, who was the Public Prosecutor in the Malegaon case, had spoken on affidavit that she was under pressure from the NIA to be lenient on the case. She had also filed an affidavit naming the NIA officer who had approached her. Salian was later de-notified from the panel of lawyers.
The Congress spokeswoman said now the Court has questioned the role of the NIA; the BJP and the Government at the center need to answer the following questions;
- Was NIA under any pressure to play second fiddle to the BJP and its ministers?
- Are sensitive cases related to national security being deliberately manipulated to undermine law and justice?
- Who was behind the NIA officers who had contacted Rohini Salian, maligned Karkare and played a dangerous game? Shouldn’t there be a probe in the case in the spirit of probity and justice.
- We demand that the de-notification of specific lawyers from the NIA panel be probed thoroughly and prosecutors dropped deliberately be reinstated.
In response to a question, she said why the Modi government did not make public the B K Prasad report on Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case? This government has been misleading and diverting the attention of the people from real issues by making baseless allegations, she added.
In reply to a question related to BJP president’s remark about the death of Shayma Prasad Mukherjee, Mrs. Oza said, “whether any of their organization Members had raised the question then, when earlier reports of investigation had come in, then why were they silent all these years. Now the year 2016 is going on. Where was Atal Ji’s Government? Why did they not raise this question then and get the investigation done. It is their Government in both Centre and J&K; they should answer rather than raising questions, even on Deen Dayal Upadhyay”.
Meanwhile, ex-prosecutor Rohini Salian also reacted to the scathing remarks of the court on the NIA saying “the manner NIA carried out the probe casts doubt on the very motive of their investigation and on why the case was handed to them”. She said that by dropping of serious charges under MCOCA in the case, NIA was interfering in the process of the court…. This is a fit case for NIA to hand back the probe to the ATS.