Samjhauta blast and the manufacturing of a Hindu terror conspiracy

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.

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Swami Aseemanand acquitted in Ajmer blasts case

Swami Aseemanand- Photo-

Swami Aseemanand has been acquitted in the 2007 Ajmer blasts case. The special National Investigation Agency court however found three persons guilty in the case. The court held the deceased Sunil Joshi, Bhavesh and Devendra guilty in the case.
On October 11, 2007, a blast rocked the dargah of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, killing three and injuring 17 people.

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Aseemanand’s Modi claim unsubstantiated

Pic: jagaran
Pic: jagaran

With Swami Aseemanand denying that he ever named Mohan Bhagwat in an interview to the Caravan he has only displayed yet another case of dropping big names and then backtracking.
An officer who had questioned Aseemanand tells that he is known to drop big names in a bid to divert the probe and when we decide to act on it, he has always backtracked. He has also once taken the name of Narendra Modi during his questioning, but there was absolutely nothing to suggest that the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate was aware of anything that Aseemanand was up to. In the case of Modi, Aseemanand had said that he had met him during an RSS event in Ahmedabad and told him, “it is decided that I will become the Chief Minister. Let me come to power and then I will do your work.” Continue reading “Aseemanand’s Modi claim unsubstantiated”

Bhagwat assasination plot

Pic: India Today
Pic: India Today

Is Mohan Bhagwat, the Chief of the RSS an accused as claimed by a magazine which says it interviewed Swami Aseemanand or is he is a target of some fanatics as per the probe of the National Investigation Agency.
The NIA has made it clear that no where during the investigation into Aseemanand had he ever said that Bhagwat had blessed the bombings. However an angle that they had probed was regarding an assassination plot by Sunil Joshi and others. It was found that Joshi and some of his accomplices had hatched a plan to kill Bhagwat since they were unhappy with him. Continue reading “Bhagwat assasination plot”

Bhagwat vs Aseemanand

mohan-bhagwat-500Swami 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 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.

Continue reading “Bhagwat vs Aseemanand”

NIA to probe Chowdhary in Mecca Masjid case

Photo courtesy:
Photo courtesy:

The National Investigation Agency which arrested Rajendra Chowdhary one of the accused in the Samjautha train blasts case will take him to Hyderabad to probe his role in Mecca Masjid blasts case.

An officer in the NIA told that he will be taken to Hyderabad and for this purpose a prisoner’s transit warrant is being readied. We will need to interrogate him for a couple of days in connection with the Samjautha case and then will take him to Hyderabad for the Mecca Masjid case. His role in the Ajmer blast too will be studied, but top on the priority for us now are the Samjautha and Mecca Masjid case, the NIA official also pointed out. Continue reading “NIA to probe Chowdhary in Mecca Masjid case”

Mecca Masjid- 5 years later

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It is the fifth anniversary today and this is a case that has taken many twists and turns and even today to a large extent remains a mystery.

The Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee which has single handedly fought from day one for the justice of the Muslim youth who were detained in this case say that even today despite a whole other angle to this case coming out, justice has not been done as yet.

As per the official government records in Andhra Pradesh there were 100 youth who were arrested in connection with this case. Interestingly all these youth today are acquitted as the police failed to establish any connection they had with the blasts. However today it is common knowledge that the investigations have gone the other way and the CBI says that it was the doing of some Hindu activists.

Lateef Mohammad Khan, the convenor of the CLMC says that although the government states that 100 youth had been arrested, the real picture is something different. In my knowledge, there were at least 300 youth who had been detained in this case. Moreover the compensation which has been awarded has been very unfair. Only 20 persons have got a compensation of Rs 3 lakh. The government says that 80 others have been compensated Rs 20000, but in reality only 40 persons have got this amount.

Moreover what sort of pittance is this when the police did nothing but ruin their lives. However what is more ironic is that we had sought action against those police officials who for their selfish reasons arrested these youth. Instead of taking action against them, the government had rewarded these police and also promoted them. Our battle to this effect to take action against these cops continues till date in the civil court at Hyderabad. The families and also the youth who had faced this torture will get justice only when these cops are booked and action taken against them, Khan also adds.

On the investigation front, many Muslims in Hyderabad feel that the government and investigating agencies are not serious to investigate this case. If carefully examined the blast and subsequent police firing and also the other bomb blasts in the country it can be said that there is something suspicious that is being shielded and the real culprits are being protected.

We strongly feel there is a nexus between a group of Hindutva police officers and Hindutva organizations. Actually the blasts were part of a greater conspiracy hatched by Hindutva elements present in the government and non-government agencies There is a reason to believe this because immediately after the blast at, police opened fire on the Muslims who were helping the victims of the blast and also blamed the Muslims for the blast which is reported in the secret report of police.

The copy of the confidential report prepared by the police a copy of which is with us, states the blast was due to the difference between the Ahle Hadees and Sunnatul Jamaat. Ahle Hadees targeted Sunnatul Jamaat in this blast. The police registered two FIRs. One case was handed over to CBI and another case was retained by the Hyderabad police.

The Muslims till date cry foul over this and say that in the name of investigation the police started picking up hundreds and hundreds of Muslim youths, illegally detained and tortured mercilessly. They propagated through media that Muslim youths have taken the responsibility of bomb blasts. They also disclosed the tampered recordings of Narco analysis test to the media. This clearly reflects the intentions of the investigation agency as they wanted to divert the blast investigation so that many aims can be fulfilled with a single shot. This may be to divert the attention from Sohrabuddin encounter, to bring down the morale of Muslim community, so that they cannot live with human dignity.

On the current investigation there is nothing much to really harp about for the police. There was an initial euphoria over the confessions made by Swami Aseemanand which was of course later withdrawn. Today the National Investigating Agency is in the picture and one could say that the case is dragging on at a snails pace. While the NIA has claimed that it is aware of who is behind these blasts, it has however not yet managed to track down two very important persons alleged to be behind these blasts. The likes of Danger and Ramji Kalsanghra are still on the run and the investigators say that their arrests would be vital for the closure of this case.

The NIA infact is still trying to connect the dots in the investigation into the various other blasts in the country which has been blamed on some Hindu organizations. However these are mere leads and nothing very concrete has really emerged. They are yet to track the source of funding and also the group that actually provided the logistics for the Mecca Masjid blasts. One source in the investigating agency pointed out that these things do take time and it a deep rooted network and would take a bit of time to solve. Moreover the NIA has been handed over with this daunting task where it had to undo a lot of mistakes that were initially committed by the police when they went the other way at first. A lot of evidence has gone missing and it is very hard to start off an investigation especially when it has been probed in a complete opposite direction for nearly 3 years before the NIA took over.

Did NIA offer bribe to name RSS leaders?

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A petition making a shocking revelation was filed before the Ajmer and Bhopal courts alleging that the National Investigating Agency had allegedly tried to bribe two accused to name three senior RSS leaders in the murder of Sunil Joshi.

If the allegations are proven to be true then it could be quite some revelation and it would put the investigating agency is very poor light. The other question is whether the NIA would resort to bribing Rs 1 crore in order to make their case stronger.

The petition alleges that the NIA offered Mukesh Vasani and Raj Singh Rs 1 crore as bribe and in return the agency wanted them to take the names of three senior RSS functionaries in the Sunil Joshi murder case. It is also stated that the NIA officials had questioned the two accused in the Ajmer jail between April 16th to April 19th during which this offer was made. The duo were being questioned for their alleged role in the Ajmer blasts and it is stated that they had procured and planted the explosives at the Dargah. The petition makes further allegations that the accused persons were lured with money and also told that charges against them would also be withdrawn in case they named the three RSS leaders in the case.

The NIA is however not taking these allegations seriously. We will reply in court and we know that we have not resorted to any such tactics. At times during investigations, we do tell the accused persons to turn approvers by giving proper information about the case. However the question of luring with money does not arise and that too to create accused persons in the case.

Investigating officials also point out that these are age old tricks played by the accused persons which is normally a diversionary tactic. It takes the focus out of the case for sometime and there is delay which helps the accused to buy time. The NIA in this case is on the verge of cracking the Sunil Joshi murder case and there are a couple of senior leaders in the RSS who are likely to be questioned and hence this appears to be a ploy.

However a source in the RSS says that this is nothing but a witch hunt by the NIA and they want to show the organisation in poor light. They have been trying to fix some big leaders but are unable to find anything on them. Hence they have resorted to these tactics in order to make their case stronger. The NIA has been created by the ruling party and it is obvious that they would act in accordance to their whims and fancies. Moreover the Congress finds itself on a weak footing for the 2014 elections and hence this is just a build up to show their opposition in poor light.

Ganesh Sovani whose client, Sadhvi Pragya Singh who has also been questioned in connection with the Sunil Joshi murder case says that the times have changed today. During the earlier days the police resorted to physical torture to plant information on the accused. Today torture does not work as human rights lobbies are strong and so is the media. Hence monetary allurement is an untried mode possibly resorted to. However I am not amazed by such tactics being resorted to.

Sovani also adds that to extract and rely upon a confession of an accused is no longer a safe option for investigating agencies as in most cases it has back fired once the accused retracts the statement. Moreover the investigating officer faces the wrath because more often than not these confessions also get printed in the media. Look at what happened with the CBI in the Swami Aseemanand case. The officer is facing criminal proceedings for leaking it to the media. Hence an allurement in the form of money appears to be an new mode which is being resorted to.

The Sunil Joshi murder case has taken many twists and turns. Today he has been blamed for masterminding all the possible terror attacks on this soil. At first it was said that he was murdered by activists of the Students Islamic Movement of India. However the case went into the cold storage and was once again reopened when the NIA took over. During the preliminary round of investigation the NIA is said to have found that he was murdered by his close aides. It was stated that he had too much information on him and was threatening to reveal the same which eventually led to his murder. The case has however not been on fast track and the NIA is trying to get more concrete evidence before it names the accused persons who had masterminded the murder of Sunil Joshi.

Right-wing terror-Probe on or gone?

It is a fact that the blasts right from Nanded to Malegaon were all inter-linked. Although a different set of persons carried out the attacks, the fact remains that the entire operation emerged out of one similar module. The National Investigation Agency has managed to ascertain that the ammunition for the blasts at Nanded, Modasa, Samjautha, Ajmer, Malegaon and Mecca Masjid were all procured from Mhow in Madhya Pradesh.

The NIA has many in its custody and there are also some who are absconding. It has been almost a year since the NIA was handed over the charge of all the above mentioned cases. But there appears to be something drastically wrong with the manner in which the probe is taking place today as there is no concrete breakthrough as yet.

For starters the probe into cases involving some extremist right wing activists went wrong right from day one. The Nanded blasts which is considered to be the mother of these set of incidents was badly probed and investigators who continued the probe found it extremely tough to make a start. Going into the investigations into the Nanded blasts, the police at first did manage to get a grip of the case, but then again the time lag in probing the matter gave the accused ample time to give the slip.

Today the NIA is faced with this herculean task of cracking all these cases which are inter-linked and sources in the agency say that the foundation of the case itself is extremely weak that they are finding it hard to give it closure. There are leads in every case, but in none of them have they managed to achieve a break through. On one hand the NIA has been finding it hard to dish out the evidence as most of it seems to be lost of destroyed and on the other there are teething problems within the agency which are specifically probing these cases. Take for example the Modasa and Malegaon blasts- it has just two officers on the job. The Ajmer blasts on the other hand does not have a leader at the moment as three officers have stepped out due to personal reasons. The Samjautha blasts investigations too appears to be hitting a dead end as there is no leader in that team as well. In fact this team was pulled up for its slow pace in investigations.

Nearly a year back there was this sensational confession by Swami Aseemanand. The NIA thought it had it all cracked. However there was a turn around when the God Man refuted his statements alleging that the confession was forced. Had Aseemanand stuck to his confession the scenario would have been entirely different and would have made the job of the agency easier. However now they have to start right from scratch as most of the statements will be denied. To make matters worse most of the chargesheets that were filed in these cases were very much dependant on the confession of Swami Aseemanand. Now with him refuting the statements, it would be a herculean task to piece together the evidence that they would have to give the court.

NIA sources however point out that they alone cannot be blamed for the slow progress or no progress into these cases. They were probably the third agency to investigate the same case. It started off with the ATS then the CBI and now the NIA. There has been a lot of activity in between. Ideally the ATS ought to have got it right in Nanded itself as this could have prevented a series of blasts in the days to come. The CBI which took over the investigation too had teething problems while investigating this case. Both the CBI and the NIA point their finger at the ATS and say that had the foundation been laid strongly the investigations would not have been this weak.

However the Maharashtra ATS has its defence. A source who was part of the Nanded probe informed that their hands were tied at that point in time. In a case of terror one cannot restrict themselves to one place only. During our investigation we did find that the men who took part in the Nanded blasts had trained in Pune. However we were not permitted to probe the Pune angle as we were asked to restrict ourselves to Nanded only. They also say the other draw back was that three persons who were involved in this attack were also killed during the preparation of the bomb and this weakened the case.

This shows that there was utter confusion since day one and more importantly there will remain several unanswered questions in this case. Till date the agencies are not able to tell who exactly the mysterious Mithun Chakraborthy was involved in this case. The ATS says it is a fake name, but the fact remains that there was a man like this who played a very vital role in these cases.

While these are details specific to the cases that the NIA are probing, the other headache was the arrest of innocent youth in all these cases. This had to be undone and only then could they start their investigations afresh. The NIA may question some Maharashtra ATS officials who were involved in these cases and find out how exactly such a turn of events take place and why was the matter probed in a different direction.

Status- NIA officials say that there is no cause for panic and these cases will be cracked in good time. There has been plenty of confusion and it would take some time before the wrong has been undone.

In the Modasa blast the chargesheet is yet to be filed. Most of the work has been done by the Gujarat police and they have registered cases under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and also the Explosives Act.

In the Samjautha blasts case, the chargesheet has been filed, but then again the NIA says that the case would result in a closure once the main accused who goes by the name Amith and alias Prince is arrested.

The case of Mecca Masjid is almost similar. There is a supplementary chargesheet that has been filed, but then again they have not been able to nab two important players, Dange and Kalasanghra and have also not traced the local module behind this attack. Moreover there is still confusion as the Hyderabad police continue to hold on to half the case which deals with the unexploded bomb.

In the Malegaon and Ajmer case, the chargesheets have been filed, but the NIA is yet to corroborate the evidence and this job has become tougher as Aseemanand who gave the leads through his confession has retracted his statement. Moreover the accused persons who are the same in the Mecca Masjid case are absconding. In addition to the two names the NIA is also trying to track Amit, Mehul, Suresh Nair, Bhavesh Patel and Jauyanti Bhai Gohil.

As part of the investigations apart from ascertaining that the material had been procured from Madhya Pradesh and a major part of the financing done by Aseemanand, the agency has also got leads regarding the use of mobile phones. The agency says that the SIM cards were procured from Faridabad and all these have a similar series. However the NIA is also tasked with an additional headache in these cases and has also been entrusted with the job of probing the mystery murder of Sunil Joshi. It is believed that this killing had a lot to do with these blasts and Joshi could have threatened to spill the beans which eventually led to his murder. However this one too appears to be having a tough time since by the time the NIA took over the investigation a lot of material had gone missing. Once again the NIA would point its finger at the Madhya Pradesh police who they feel had gone slow which led to this mess.