Legal experts have said that the NIA’s U-turn on Malegaon terror accused belonging to right-wing Hindutva organisations did not automatically guarantee the release of likes of Sadhvi Pragya and her associates.
The NIA, last week, had given a clean chit to Sadhvi and three others by dropping MCOCA charges in Malegaon blast case, which had killed 37 people and injured over hundred others on the night of Shab-e-Barat in 2008.
Advocate, Shawar Khan, said that it was now up to the judges to verify all the evidence presented before them to arrive at a conclusion.
He said, “In the Aarushi murder case, the CBI had submitted the closure report, but the judges rejected the report and we know what happened to Aarushi’s parents. They are now languishing in jail. Similarly, just because the NIA has watered down the charges against certain accused and dropped MCOCA charges, it doesn’t mean Sadhvi and others are going to be acquitted.”
Meanwhile, the NIA is believed to have agreed that the explosives allegedly sourced by Lt Colonel Prasad Purohit were “military grade RDX.”
The NIA, in its chargesheet, had rejected rejected the Maharashtra ATS claim that the explosives were sourced by Lt Col Purohit, a key accused in Malegaon blast case.
An Indian Express report on Monday said that such explosives could only be procured from the army or a terror group.
The Maharashtra ATS had drawn this conclusion from forensic tests of swabs taken from the blast site. Interestingly, the NIA has not questioned this report.
On the source of the explosives, the NIA said that its probe could not establish due to the “time lag.”
The Malegaon blasts probe was handed over to the NIA in 2011.
The Maharashtra ATS had said that Purohit, during his posting at the army’s Deolali camp in Nashik in 2006, had gone on an official assignment to Jammu and Kashmir. But when he returned, he had allegedly carried 60 kilograms of RDX.
But, the NIA claims it has thoroughly probed the matter but could not find any pilferage of RDX seized in any operation in Jammu and Kashmir adding that all the seized RDX was either destroyed or given to the J&K Police.
“We spoke to various Army and police officers in Jammu and Kashmir and also checked all the records with regard to the haul. The entire consignment is accounted for,” Indian Express quoted a senior NIA officer.
The NIA is also mysteriously silent on how the bombs were assembled and transported to Malegaon. The ATS’s claim that the bombs were assembled in the rented house of Sudhakar Chaturvedi in Deolali, has been rejected by the NIA on the grounds that the evidence leading to this conclusion was fabricated.
It has also rejected the statement of an accused, Dhan Singh, on how the IED-fitted LML bike belonging to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur was transported for lack of corroborative evidence.
During interrogation, Dhan Singh had told the NIA that on 29 September, 2008, the day of the blasts, he had taken the IED-fitted bike from the house of suspect Ramesh Mahalkar to Ramchandra Kalsangra, from Indore to Sendhwa, on the instructions of Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange.