May 13, 2016

India - Malegaon blast case: NIA chargesheet to give clean chit to Hindutva connected Sadhvi Pragya, water down charges on Purohit?

Daily News and Analysis

Malegaon blast case: NIA chargesheet to give clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya, water down charges on Purohit?
alt dna Web Team | Fri, 13 May 2016-01:10pm , dna webdesk

NIA chargesheet may say that Hemant Karkare's investigation was flawed

In a significant change in the stance related to the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has not named Sadhvi Singh Thakur in its chargesheet, reports The Indian Express. According to the report, the chargesheet will say that slain officer Karkare's investigation in the NIA case was 'flawed' and evidence against Colonel Purohit had been fabricated.

In all likelihood, the stringent MCOCA charge may also be dropped against Purohit and other accused and they may be charged under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. According to the IE report, the NIA chargesheet says that the ATS had planted RDX at Purohit's quarters to fabricate evidence against him.

Blasts in Malegaon on September 29, 2008 had killed four people and injuring 79. Once NIA probed the case under then chief Karkare, it reexamined all the accused, witness and evidence. The NIA is scheduled to file the chargesheet in a Mumbai court on Friday.

Before the NIA took over the case, the Maharashtra ATS had filed a chargesheet against 14 accused, including Pragya Thakur and Colonel Purohit. According to reports, there is 'very weak' evidence against Thakur and hence she hasn't been charged. The motorcycle used for the bomb was hers, but it was reportedly being used by someone else for more than two years. The Indian Express quotes officers as saying, “There is not a single statement recorded before a magistrate (under Section 164 of the CrPC) that says she was part of the conspiracy meetings. All witness statements have been recorded under MCOCA before a DCP (deputy commissioner of police). Once MCOCA charges are dropped, these statements have no evidentiary value. There are just as many statements saying she was not part of the meetings."

The IE report says the NIA may also give a clean chit to three others for not being aware of the conspiracy behind the blast. Against Colonel Thakur, NIA has 'proof' of his Abhinav Bharat'. But officers claim that application of MCOCA was wrong against Purohit.

Significantly, special public prosecutor in the Malegaon case, Rohini Salian had said last year that she was under pressure from the NIA to go slow on the case since the time the Modi government took charge.