Clean chit to Sadhvi and Colonel Purohit in Malegaon blast case
New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) gave on Friday a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Colonel Purohit, who were the prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case. They will be released from the jail soon.
The NIA has decided to file a chargesheet, in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) court, against the then Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare,who filed the report. It believed that the report was flawed
An NIA officer said that the chargesheet would mention that the ATS planted explosives in Purohit’s living quarters at the Deolali Army camp at the time of his arrest in 2008. “We have evidence to show that the RDX was planted by ATS,” stated the officer.
What else will the chargesheet contain:
- The agency has also decided to drop charges against Purohit, Sadhvi and all other accused under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
- They will now be charged under the provisions of the UAPA.
- The chargesheet is also to mention that the investigation conducted by former Maharashtra ATS produced against Purohit had been fabricated, and statements of witnesses were taken forcibly.
- NIA has also given a clean chit to three other accused who, the agency claims, had a peripheral role and were not aware of the conspiracy behind the blasts.
- The NIA will also list evidence in the form of phone intercepts.
Reasons given by NIA to provide Sadhvi the clean chit:
- The agency claimed that The only material evidence against her was the motorcycle used to keep the explosive. This motorcycle was in her name but was being used by Ramchandra Kalsangra.
- “Investigations have proved it was with Kalsangra for two years prior to the blast. He was the one who would get it repaired and pay for its maintenance. Witness statements proved it,” the NIA officer told.
- The officer also told that there was not a single statement recorded before a magistrate that says that she was part of the conspiracy meetings.
- Once MCOCA charges are dropped, the statements recorded under them had no evidentiary value. There are just as many statements saying she was not part of the meetings,” another officer stated.
What NIA has against Purohit:
- The NIA evidence against Purohit, sources said, establish he was an integral part of Abhinav Bharat, the organisation that allegedly plotted the blasts.
- A source reportedly stated, the NIA had found that Purohit used the organisation’s money to buy plots in Nashik.
- The phone intercepts that NIA will present in the court, will convict him of allegedly telling the other accused to flee and destroy evidence since police had got whiff of their involvement.
- The NIA also has statements recorded before the magistrate which mentions him as the part of the conspiracy meetings.
- “There are several statements, recorded before a magistrate, which say he was part of conspiracy meetings. Against him, we have good evidence,” an NIA officer reportedly said.
- The probe also uncovered a money trail leading to Purohit.
- The Malegaon blast took place on Spetember 29, 2008.
- At least four people were killed and 79 injured in the blast.
- The Maharashtra ATS, which had earlier filed a chargesheet in the case, named 14 people as accused including Thakur and Purohit.
- The NIA, which took over the case almost three years after the Maharashtra ATS filed a chargesheet in the case, re-examined all the accused, witnesses and evidence presented in the ATS chargesheet.
- The NIA had earlier sought the opinion of the Law Ministry whether MCOCA charges could be dropped, and was asked by the Ministry to apply its own mind on the available evidence.
- The decision to drop MCOCA charges against the accused was taken since the application itself was flawed.
- Sources said only one accused, Rakesh Dhawde, qualified to be charged under the law.
Investigation reports against Sadhvi and Purohit presented by ATS:
- Hero Honda motorcycle with bombs was owned by Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.
- Sadhvi attended most meetings since 2006 on targeting Muslim-majority areas.
- Sources told that Sadhvi said she would arrange men for the blasts in Malegaon.
- ATS said Purohit floated Abhinav Bharat (the organisation that plotted blasts), in 2007 for a Hindu Rashtra.
- Purohit brought RDX fromKashmir where he was posted earlier.
- Purohit assembled bombs in Pune with Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Kalsangra.