Tuesday, January 31, 2012

'Not to question ATS men again in Malegaon probe'

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

: Amid reports that the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officers who investigated the 2006 Malegaon mosque blasts will be questioned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for not conducting the probe properly, the NIA has denied all such claims. NIA sources on Monday said the agency has already questioned the ATS officers who were part of the '06 serial blasts probe.

News reports in some regional language newspapers said the NIA will question the ATS officers who investigated the four blasts that took place on September 8, 2006. At least 31 persons were killed and 297 others injured when four bombs, planted in a residential area and within the premises of a cemetery, went off. The bombs contained RDX, ammonium nitrate, nitrite, oil fuel, shrapnel, nuts and bolts.

"We have already questioned the ATS officers who probed the case then. There is no requirement for us to question them now. How can they help us in the probe, if they didn't know who the real culprits are?" said a senior officer from the NIA.

He added that the NIA had recorded the statements of some of the officers on various points like the filing of charge sheet and the fact that chemical analysis reports were not attached with the chargesheets.

"Our investigation is currently going in the right direction. Why would we want to rely on some other organization? Our team is working hard on this case," he added. Nine suspected SIMI members were arrested by the ATS in 2006 and were released on bail in November 2011 after the NIA did not oppose their bail in court.

The NIA, while probing another terror case, allegedly found that some members of a radical right wing group were involved in the Malegaon blasts and not the nine youth caught by the ATS.

This case was probed by various agencies: first by the Malegaon local police, who handed it over to the ATS, later case transferred to the CBI, and then to another CBI team. The NIA took over the case in April last year.

The Times of India, January 31, 2012