New Delhi(PTI): The National Investigation Agency on Thursday refuted claims made by its Special Public Prosecutor in the 2008 Malegaon blast case that the agency asked her to “go soft” on the accused, saying they had not been charge-sheeted so far, and denied any officer had met her to create “impediments” in her work.
The agency, in a long statement, said that Rohini Salian was empanelled as Special Public Prosecutor in National Investigation Agency (NIA) on September 1, 2010.
The NIA said that its Director General Sharad Sinha, an official of the Home Ministry and legal Advisor of the agency had met in January this year to review the performance, suitability and availability of the Special Public
Prosecutors who are in the panels of five years or more or who are in the last quarter of completing five years, will be assessed and if need be, recommendations be made for denotifying them, the statement said.
“In compliance of the decision of the designated committee heads of NIA branches were asked to send their recommendations for denotification. In response, the Mumbai branch on June 16 has recommended for denotifying three Special Public Prosecutors including Rohini Salian (who will be completing five years on August 31) in view of many SPP already available for representing the branch,” it said.
“Recommendation of the branch has reached the head office and the matter is under process,” it said. The NIA claimed that the work for a SPP starts only after the investigating agency files charge-sheet in a trial court.
“NIA Special Court proceedings during the stage of investigation are of miscellaneous nature and usually the branch PPs deal with the same, except when a complex legal matter is involved which warrants the services of SPP.
“The Malegaon blast case 2008 has not yet reached the trial stage. Therefore, it is incorrect to infer that Salian was being bypassed for court appearances,” it said.
“Further, NIA completely denies the issuance of inappropriate briefing by any officer of the agency to the SPP or creating impediments in her prosecution work of NIA cases she has been handling,” the statement said.
The Malegaon 2008 case was investigated by late Hemant Karkare, who was killed in the 26/11 terror attack, and this case opened a Pandora’s box in country’s terrorism history, with groups owing allegiance to Hindu outfit was unravelled.
After this case, the Malegaon 2006 blasts was also found to be a handiwork of right-wing terror groups, besides the infamous blast in Samjhauta Express, the rail link between India and Pakistan, Ajmer Sharif blast in Jaipur and twin blasts in Hyderabad.
A serving Colonel of Indian Army Col R Purohit, and Sadhvi Pragya have been arrested in connection with Malegaon 2008 blast case and have been since in custody.
Salian had alleged that she had been asked to “go soft” on the accused who were to apply for bail in the Bombay High Court again. The NIA has filed a charge sheet in the Malegaon 2006 bomb blast case against four accused Lokesh Sharma, Dhan Singh, Manohar Singh and Rajendra Choudhary, who were arrested by the agency after two years of probe from various places.
However, the charge sheet in 2008 case was yet to be filed due to litigations in various courts from time to time. While 37 deaths took place in the 2006 blasts, the 2008 blasts had claimed lives of eight victims.