New Delhi, Mar 21:After years of trial and many more flip-flops, a special court acquitted Swami Aseemanand and three others in connection with the Samjautha Express blast case. The attack that took place on February 18 2007 left 68 persons dead.
All the four accused, Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary have been acquitted by the court, NIA counsel Rajan Malhotra said.
There were around 14 drop boxes in and around Delhi where documents which were leaked out of the petroleum ministry were dropped off.
The investigations into the Corporate Espionage case has revealed that most of the time the accused never came face to face with each other and relied on the drop boxes to pick up the leaked documents.
The arrest of a staff in the Ministry of Environment and Forests in connection with the corporate espionage case has widened the probe. Jitender Nagpal, the Personal Assistant to the Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, was arrested after it was found that some documetns had been leaked.
The Delhi police, which is probing the case, says that the same module which was involved in stealing and leaking the documents had their men in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Telecommunications, and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Swami Assemanand is at it once again and this time around he has named RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat. The accused in the Samjautha Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts has alleged that it was Bhagwat who sanctioned these strikes. The National Investigation Agency which is seized off all these cases is however treading cautiously on the issue. Aseemanand is known to backtrack on his statements and has done so once in the past as well which left the NIA red faced before the court. NIA sources tell rediff.com that they will wait and watch and would not want to jump to any conclusions since these are statements given before a magazine. Not once in our entire questioning of the man has he ever named Mohan Bhagwat and hence there is no reason for us to act suo motu on the case. We will instead wait for a court order and only then act, the NIA official also pointed out.
After an ordeal of six long years, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur will be given a clean chit in the Sunil Joshi murder case. Sunil Joshi who has been named as an accused in the Malegaon and Samjautha Express blasts case was found murdered at Dewas on December 29 2007.
The National Investigation Agency which was handling this case had named Pragya Singh Thakur, Harshad Solanki, Vasudev Parmar, Anand Raj Kataria and Ramcharan Patel in the case. However during the course of the investigation the NIA found nothing on the above mentioned persons and have now decided to drop charges against them in the Joshi murder case.
The National Investigation Agency is all set to file its chargesheet in connection with the Sunil Joshi murder case. The agency which has been investigating this case for over a year now say that the motive was to ensure that secrets do not get out and also add that it was the work of his close circle.
The prime intention of the murder on December 29 2007 was to ensure that Joshi does not spill the beans on the activities. Joshi was accused of being an extremist and it was also stated that he was the one who knew everything about the Malegaon blasts. There was a tussle between him and some of associates and he had decided to come clean on the entire issue. This the NIA says was with an intention of entering into public life and he wanted a clean slate. However this did not augur well with the rest of his troop as a result of which they murdered him.
The dragging of Indresh Kumar’s name into the Malegaon blasts case had threatened to shake the RSS up. However today the National Investigation Agency has with it a testimony which clearly states that the RSS was never in favour of carrying out bomb blasts.
According to the NIA investigation, Indresh Kumar had met with Sunil Joshi in Jaipur a few months before the Malegaon 2006 blasts. During that meeting, Joshi had told Kumar about the plan to carry out an attack in Malegaon. However Kumar is said to have told Joshi that neither he nor the Sangh would approve of this act and there shall be no support for an act of terror. The NIA has this testimony from an RSS pracharak who was part of this meeting between Joshi, Sadhvi Pragya Singh and Kumar at Jaipur.
In the back drop of the Home Minister accusing the RSS of running terror camps in the country, the probe into the death of Sunil Joshi gains a lot of importance. Joshi who is said to be the mastermind of the various blasts in which Hindu radicals had allegedly carried out was killed and there were various theories behind his death. Continue reading “Death of Joshi, more theories emerge”
There was a confession made by an accused in the Samjautha Express blast that he was the one who fired at Professor S A R Geelani, who was acquitted in the Parliament attack case. However Professor Geelani is of the view that the man in question is just a pawn and the system was behind the incident as there were many others who were unhappy with the incident. Continue reading “Samjautha accused just a pawn-Geelani”
In a span of hardly 5 days two persons accused in the Malegaon and Mecca Masjid blasts case were granted bail by the court. Ironically the bail granted was not on the basis of merit, but thanks to the failure of the National Investigating Agency to file a charge sheet in the stipulated time frame of 90 days as mandated by the Code of Criminal Procedure. A clear indicator that in both these cases the NIA has not managed to put up a case for the courts to take cognizance.
The first question that comes to mind is whether the NIA has enough against these accused persons who they rounded up by the dozen. However while speaking to scores of officials in Hyderabad, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan it becomes very clear that it is an ugly ego battle on between the local police and the NIA which is hurting the cases bad.
Many legal experts and police officials who have been following these cases closely (Malegaon, Mecca Masjid, Ajmer and Samjautha) are of the view that the road ahead for the NIA looks very tough and there may be many more accused who would come out on bail due to the fact that the charge sheets are not filed in the mandatory period.
On the first of June, a Hyderabad court granted bail to an accused by the name Bharath Ratheshwar. The NIA had arrested him in connection with the Mecca Masjid Blasts case. The court had granted him bail on the ground that the NIA had failed to file a charge sheet even after being granted time of 180 days. The Cr.PC makes it clear that a charge sheet shall be filed in 90 days after the arrest failing which the accused is entitled for bail unless the investigating agency is able to give sufficient reason for the delay.
On Tuesday another accused in the Malegaon blasts-2008, Lokesh Sharma secured bail on similar grounds that the NIA was not able to file the charge sheet in the 90 day stipulated period.
In addition to this there have been other cases too in which bail has been granted to the accused. Sham Sahu, Shivnarayan Kalsanghra and Ajay Rahirkar, all accused in the Malegaon case too were granted bail. While granting bail to these accused persons, Justice A M Thipsay of the Bombay High Court had virtually held that there was no evidence against these persons. They were granted bail after spending three years in jail.
While the NIA says that these are complex cases and need a lot of time for investigation, many others feel that the proofs are not coming by because the investigation or re-investigation into these cases started off as a witch hunt exercise for political reasons.
NIA sources say that there has been lack of cooperation from the local police who form the back bone of any investigation. Moreover these cases were investigated in a particular direction for many years and we got the job to un do the mess which has only made the job much harder. The basic piece of evidence is procured by any investigating agency from the spot where the incident took place. The accused were walking free for nearly four years before we could take over the probe and during this period a lot of evidence has gone missing.
The local police who were initially handling these cases say that the NIA has been pretty arrogant while handling these cases. They cannot look at the police personnel as accused in the case and treat them as one. Just because they are a centralised agency that does not mean we are subordinates and we too need to be treated properly.
However the basic understanding that one gets while looking at these developments is that the cases have been used more as political weapons. Ganesh Sovani who represents Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in the Malegaon case says that this is a result of witch hunt. They have conducted arrests on the anticipation that these persons are accused in the case. It is nothing but an artificial investigation in furtherance to fix people for political needs. When the start of an investigation itself is such then the NIA is left with very little choice but to fabricate evidence. However it wont be too long before the cat is out of the bag because even the courts these days are very cautious while dealing with such cases.
The NIA has appeared desperate while handling these cases, says a senior police official. They are definitely under pressure to crack these cases. The agency was set up with a great deal of hype and we had all welcomed the formation of a central agency. However when goes through the Harshal Vasani case from Rajasthan it becomes clear that the NIA is desperate. Vasani had filed an affidavit stating that he was offered Rs 1 crore by the NIA to name a couple of senior RSS leaders in these attacks.
The news on the ground level too is not too good and it has become evident that the NIA has been getting no support from the local police. The tussle if clear as we speak to some of the police men who had initially handled these cases. They have a long list of complaints against the NIA. However what one gets to see is that it is a clear ego battle. What has emerged is unhealthy competition and this is hurting the probe. Many even point out that the NIA has been trying to undo their investigation. If they are trying to undo the investigation that means we are helping those who are trying to put us in bad light.
The NIA which says that the local police have not been helpful say that they get answers in yes or no and on some occasions have been told to refer to the earlier reports for their probe. A probe can never work on a yes or no and we need more details. Moreover what is the point in referring to earlier reports when they were wrong in the first place.
The other issue that the NIA faces is that most of the junior officers have often told them to speak to their seniors in the department. Now, in order to speak to higher ups there is a procedure that ought to be adhered to and this obviously takes up a lot of time. The other issue that they have found is the lack of support from the local intelligence wings. The local intelligence wing and the local police work in tandem and it appears as though they have ganged up against the NIA which again is hurting their cause no end.
The case status with regard to the above mentioned blasts is nothing to boast about for the NIA. There have been scores of arrests that have taken place, but the NIA is falling short at the crucial moment. There have been many conspiracy angles and also one must mention that some accused who had made sensational revelations have withdrawn their statements. All this put together is making the dots very hard to join.