Reacting on the claims of a public prosecutor that she was asked to go soft on the Hindu extremist suspects in the Malegaon blast case, the Congress pondered whether there was a message from “the top” to Rohini Salian to go soft in Malegan blast case as public prosecutor and alleged that BJP leadership had tried to “bargain” with then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “not to pursue cases against Hindu extremists”.
Demanding “removal” of Director General of NIA over the episode, the party also sought answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh over remarks of Salian, that she was under pressure from NIA to go soft in the case.
Scaling up the attack, Digvijay Singh said on Twitter, “Not unexpected as BJP leadership had tried to bargain with Dr Manmohan Singh not to pursue cases where Hindu Extremists were accused.”
In another tweet, he recalled, “Rajnath Singh ji had visited Pragya Singh Thakur an accused in terror cases in jail.”
Alleging a “message from top” in the episode, Singh said,”Would PM and HM Govt of India please clarify whether NIA Officer acting on his own or under instructions from Home Ministry?
“Rohini Salian Special Public Prosecutor dealing Malegaon 2008 blast case asked by NIA Officer to go slow and soft.
Message from top!”
Party spokesperson Shobha Oza said,”This shows a form of undeclared Emergency”.
Another party spokesperson Ajay Maken demanded the probe by National Investigation Agency should be monitored by the Supreme Court or High Court henceforth, as Congress has “no faith” in the ongoing investigations by the agency under the Home Ministry.
“It is a very serious matter. NIA Director General (Sharad Kumar) should be immediately removed because he is responsible for it. The Supreme Court or the High Court should monitor the NIA investigation directly.
“We no longer have faith in the probe in the case being carried by NIA under Government of India or Home Ministry,” Maken said.
He also referred to the death of Mumbai cop Hemant Karkare during Mumbai terror strike in 2011, noting that the officer was also probing the Malegaon case.
Maken, in a press statement, demanded that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister must answer in public domain their role in “compromising the integrity” of an on-going trial in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.
According to reports, a top public prosecutor has said that she was under pressure from the agency investigating the 2008 Malegaon blasts, to go soft on Hindu terror suspects in the case ever since the new government came to power.
Rohini Salian, Special Public Prosecutor in the case, told The Indian Express that she was told by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), that she needed to “go soft” on the case.
Four people were killed and 79 injured when bomb blasts shook Maharashtra’s Malegaon, a predominantly Muslim town 200 miles east of Mumbai, during the month of Ramzan in September 2008. Investigations linked the blasts to Hindu terror suspects and 12 people were arrested, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit.
Salian claimed that she was tasked not to appear in court for the State of Maharashtra just before one of the regular hearings in the case in the Sessions Court. She even claims that another advocate was to attend the proceedings.
“A day before June 12, when the case came up again for regular hearing (in the trial court), the same officer who had come to my office came up to me and said there are instructions from higher-ups, someone else will appear instead of you. I said I was expecting this and, good, you have told me this, so please settle my bills,” Salian was quoted as saying.
She also said that she wanted the NIA to officially denotify her from the case. “So that I am free to take up other cases, against the NIA, if need be. He must have conveyed it to the higher-ups and I am waiting for their action. I have not heard from anyone since then,” Salian said.
Earlier in April this year, the Supreme Court stated that Purohit and Thakur and others in the case cannot be charged under the stringent MCOCA at the current stage and their bail could hence be examined on merit by a trial court. The court also reiterated that there were no evidence to charge the two under MCOCA.