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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was born on 31st December, 2008 under the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008 (NIA Act). The NIA Act enables NIA to take over investigation of cases from the state police.
NIA took over investigations of Malegaon 2006 blasts case and Malegaon 2008 blasts case from the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) / Maharashtra Police.
Interestingly all the accused persons in Malegaon 2006 blasts case are Muslims and all the accused persons in Malegaon 2008 blasts case are Hindus.
Both cases saw similar allegations being levelled against Maharashtra ATS officers for fabrication of evidence to implicate the accused persons. These allegations ranged from kidnapping the accused persons to planting RDX at the residence of the accused persons. Even names of ATS officers, involved in these misdeeds, named by the accused persons in both the blast cases have many common names.
Sudhakar Chaturvedi, an accused in Malegaon 2008 blasts case has submitted evidence in Bombay High Court that he was illegally kidnapped on 23rd October, 2008 by the officers of Maharashtra ATS and was thereafter flown to Bhopal in a private plane owned by Indiabulls Aviation Ltd. under the false identity of Sangram Singh. As proof he has submitted an RTI reply form Air Traffic Control (ATC). Notably, the arrest of Sangram Singh was also mentioned in a news report by Hindustan Times but as on date, there is no accused by the name of Sangram Singh in the Malegaon 2008 blasts case!
The Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court had directed Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the disappearance of Dilip Patidar, a witness to the conspiracy of Malegaon 2008 blasts. Dilip Patidar has not returned home since Maharashtra ATS team took him to Mumbai for interrogation from his rented house on the intervening night of 10th / 11th November, 2008. CBI has finished the investigations and found Maharashtra ATS responsible for the disappearance of Dilip Patidar. CBI shall now be filing a charge-sheet, pending approval from competent authorities, against the guilty officers of the Maharashtra ATS.
When Sadhvi Pragya was arrested, Maharashtra ATS had proclaimed that they had her taped conversations proving her involvement in the Malegaon 2008 blasts but no such taped conversations were submitted along with the charge-sheet. Even during Lt. Col. Purohits Court Martial proceedings, a number of army officers testified that the house of Sudhakar Chaturvedi was in the possession of Maharashtra ATS officers much before 20th November, 2008. Maharashtra ATS had thus planted the swab of RDX at Sudhakar Chaturvedi’s house.
Interestingly, the chemical expert who had given the opinion about the swab of RDX at Sudhakar Chaturvedi’s house was the same person who had ‘matched’ the engine and chasis number of Sadhvi Pragya’s scooter, the scooter being the key evidence against her!
NIA filed a supplementary charge-sheet at lightning speed in the Malegaon 2006 blasts case. NIA in fact re-investigated the whole case at break-neck speed. The accused persons also got bail as NIA did not object to their bail application. The accused persons also got NIA nod when they moved an application for discharge.
However when it comes to Malegaon 2008 blasts case investigation, the supplementary charge-sheet has not been filed even after a lapse of more than 3 years. The entire effort of NIA seems to be in the direction of keeping the accused persons languishing in Jail.
In the Mumbai High Court, NIA blatantly refused to look into the evidence regarding Sudhakar Chaturvedi’s illegal kidnapping by Maharashtra ATS. NIA submitted an affidavit stating it cannot investigate the same as this matter arose prior to NIA taking over the Malegaon 2008 blasts case. Then on what grounds did NIA re-investigate the Malegaon 2006 blasts case!
Would complaints filed by Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Lt. Col. Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya, etc. about atrocities and torture committed by NIA and Maharashtra ATS ever be investigated? Would the Maharashtra ATS officers who had illegally detained Sadhvi Pragya and forced her to watch pornography ever be punished?
NIA has clearly adopted double standards in its investigations in the Malegaon 2006 blasts case and Malegaon 2008 blasts case. Who will investigate NIA, the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency of India?
— Anand Mathur (Views are personal) Follow the writer on twitter.com/anand153
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