The filing of the cases against Colonel Purohit or Sadhvi Pragya Singh was considered by many as a vendetta by the UPA government. Today with a new government in New Delhi, many feel that these cases would be re-looked. Colonel Purohit has even written to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention into the case and having him released from jail where he has been for a little over 5 years now pending trial.
The Home Ministry would however tread carefully on this matter and sources in the ministry tell rediff.com that the government would prefer not to interfere at this stage since the matter is pending before the court. It would be apt for the judiciary to take a call on this matter. What the government would ensure however is that these cases are investigated soon and the matters disposed off quickly. The same decision is also likely to be taken in the case of Sadhvi Pragya Singh too.
Many in the legal team of these accused persons feel that it is not the time to make statements or write letters seeking their release. Instead pressure should be built up to speed up the investigation and also the trial before the court, several legal experts handling these cases feel.
For the National Investigating Agency, the case pertaining to Purohit is becoming harder than it imagined. The very reason for the delay in the entire process commencing before the court is because there appears to be no finality in the investigation. The biggest allegation against Purohit was that he had sourced the RDX for the Samjautha Express blast. Now this was something that was put forth in the investigation by the ATS of Maharashtra. While the ATS was quick to put forward this information, the NIA which later took over the case is finding it very hard to prove the RDX and the Purohit link. Three years have gone since the NIA began probing Purohit, but now NIA sources say that they are unable to concretely establish his link with the RDX as was alleged by the ATS.
The NIA is hoping to directly confront Purohi, but have still not managed to get his custody for a custodial interrogation. There is a stay on this matter and this has been preventing the NIA from getting his custody. Thanks to this, they have also not been able to link him to the Samjautha blasts too.
To make matters harder for the NIA, there is also a testimony of Purohit himself before a military court where he has said that he was an infiltrator into a SIMI camp as an undercover operative. A confidential report of the army which is in our possession also suggests that he had infiltrated into the SIMI and other outfits to find out more about their operations. This particular report is likely to probe a hindrance to the NIA probe and one Purohit brings this up during the trial it would be seriously examined.
NIA sources blame a hurried probe by the ATS. Most of the information was based on confessions in custody and this is becoming extremely hard to ascertain. Very often a person operating undercover looks like a real operative and there is a thin line we need to draw while handling such cases.
Purohit on the other hand has made an appeal to the government seeking early release on the ground that he is being kept in custody without having to face trial. He quotes a statement by the former Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde who had said that the government should ensure that Muslims are not wrongly arrested in terror cases as the minority community are feeling that they are deliberately being targeted. Purohit seeks to know why such a statement is reserved only for the Muslim community?
The Maharashtra ATS in its chargesheet accuses Purohit of various offences. Naming him in the Malegaon case, the ATS chargesheet says that apart from floating the Abhinav Bharat, an organisation, he was also promoting fundamental ideology. With regard to the RDX, the ATS said that on his return from Kashmir, he had kept the same in the cupboard. The RDX angle to the case is the weakest since there has been no seizure and till date the NIA has not managed to find a trace of it, which is making the case against Purohit extremely difficult to probe.
The other ray of hope for Purohit is that there is debate on whether the army may have handed him over wrongly to the ATS. He was handed over while he was in Madhya Pradesh learning an Arabic course for an undercover operation. There appears to be a complete lack of communication in this case, which makes it look like a weak case. Aiding Purohit’s defence is the testimony by 50 army person in the military court that Purohit was in reality an infiltrator and not a conspirator. Purohit all through the trial in the military court had claimed that every action of his was known to his superiors who had tasked him in the first place to undertake an undercover operation. The other defence that has been raised by him was that he was handed over by the army without a probe being conducted.