Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sadhvi, Aseemanand not named in Malegaon blasts

NIA Charges Four Right-Wingers, ATS Accused Not In Chargesheet

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Four persons linked to ultra right-wing groups were chargesheeted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday for their alleged role in the 2006 Malegaon blasts that killed 31 people. But the names of suspects Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Swami Aseemanand are missing from the chargesheet. An official said they don’t have “prosecutable evidence” against them till now.

Rajendra Chaudhary, Dhan Singh and Manohar Singh have been accused of planting the bombs. Lokesh Sharma has been charged with conspiracy and providing logistical support. NIA sources said the bombs were made of locally sourced RDX in another town and brought to Malegaon.

Three persons — Ramchandra Kalsangra alias Ramji, Sandeep Dange and Amit Hakla — are wanted in the case. The five-volume chargesheet has contradicted the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) theory that 13 Muslim youths were responsible for the blasts near mosques on September 8.

The right-wing role in the Malegaon bombings — in 2006 and later in 2008 — came out after former RSS activist Aseemanand’s confession before a court in Delhi. There was outrage over the ATS investigation after the confession and the Union home ministry asked the NIA to take over the case in 2011.

The NIA has not mentioned any role of the youths described as planters by the ATS in its 4,500-page chargesheet earlier. The ATS had said that the Muslim youths engineered the blasts because they wanted to trigger communal riots. It had showed a Pakistani, Muzammil, as the bomb-maker. The Malegaon youths languished in jail for five and a half years before they were granted bail in November 2011.

In December 2012, the NIA arrested Lokesh Chaudhary, Dhan Singh and Manohar Singh, all residents of Indore in Madhya Pradesh. “Further investigation showed Rajendra Chaudhary, Dhan Singh, Manohar and Kalsangra had planted the four bombs,” said a senior NIA officer. “Our chargesheet is based on prosecutable evidence that we have collected. So far, we have not got prosecutable evidence against the sadhvi, Purohit and Aseemanand and, hence, they have not been named,” added the New Delhi-based officer. The chargesheet was filed in the special court of judge Prithviraj Chavan.

“According to a Supreme Court judgment, courts are duty-bound to consider all reports. We did not speak about the earlier arrests and placed our point before the court that the names of these four accused emerged in our investigation and, hence, they should be tried for the 31 deaths. Now the court will take a view and pass its order. The Malegaon boys, who are out on bail, can file for discharge from the case,” said an NIA source. Dhan Singh was granted bail in a 2008 Malegaon bombing case on Wednesday.

NIA sources said the decision to bomb Malegaon in 2006 was taken by senior right-wingers, including slain RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi,Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange. Kalsangra and Lokesh Sharma recruited Rajendra Chaudhary, Dhan Singh and Manohar Singh. They stayed in Malegaon for two days, surveyed the town and zeroed in on the cemetery area where Muslims came in large numbers for namaz. Initially, they planned to bomb the town in July 2006.

On September 8, Lokesh Sharma drove the team members to Malegaon, where Kalsangra, who brought the bombs, accompanied Dhan Singh, Manohar Singh and Rajendra Chaudhary to place them near Hamidiya Masjid at Bada Qabrastan, where many people had gathered for Shab-e-Baraat, and Mushwerat chowk. Later, Sharma drove the team back to Indore.



In 2006, the ATS arrested nine Muslims, claiming they were members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). It filed a chargesheet in 54 days, though it had 180 days to do so. SIMI members engineered the bombings to spark ‘communal riots’. Four wanted in the case

20kg RDX for the bombs came from Pakistan and a Pakistani, Muzammil, assembled them in Malegaon. Four bombs exploded, two were hidden by the Malegaon youths

Huda, Raees Ali and Abrar planted a bomb each

Majeed, an imam, travelled from Yavatmal, planted a bomb, and left for his hometown the same day. (About 250 Yavatmal residents filed affidavits, saying Majeed was in town)

Masiullah, a battery shop owner, was part of the conspiracy. (At the time of the blasts, he was in police custody in another case)

The bombings were planned and executed by ultra right-wingers
The RDX was procured in India. The explosives were allegedly planted by Ramchandra Kalsangra (wanted), Dhan Singh, Rajendra Chaudhary, and Manohar Singh. Dhan Singh had been arrested for planting bombs on Samjhauta Express and in Malegaon in 2008.
Another Samjhauta blast accused, Lokesh Sharma, provided logistical support
The blasts were masterminded by former RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange and others. The execution was entrusted to Kalsangra and Sharma
Chaudhary, Dhan Singh and Manohar Singh recced Malegaon, and chose to place bombs near mosques to cause maximum damage

The case was first probed by Malegaon police. Transferred to ATS, which filed a 4,500-page chargesheet in a hurry. After cries of bias, case handed over to CBI, which echoed the ATS in its chargesheet. Later, another CBI team took over. On April 6, 2011, the NIA took over the case

The Muslim youths picked up by the ATS told TOI that they will file defamation suits and demand a criminal case against the ATS investigators for implicating them and keeping them in jail for over five years. “Once we are discharged, we will take all legal action possible against the ATS investigators,” they said.

TURNING POINT An accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case, Swami Aseemanand, confessed in December 2010 that his accomplices executed the 2006 and 2008 Malegaon blasts. This upended the CBI probe and made it focus on ultra right-wing groups. The Centre transferred the case to NIA

The Times of India, May 23, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

NIA chargesheet to debunk ATS claims

Blames 4 Hindu Activists, Not SIMI For Attack

Mateen Hafeez TNN

The country’s premier anti-terror agency is set to file a chargesheet against four ultra-right Hindu activists for carrying out the 2006 Malegaon twin blasts.

The National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) probe has knocked the bottom off the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad’s (ATS) case that members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) had carried out the attack. The chargesheet is expected to be filed any time this week.

On September 8, 2006, bombs exploded in Bada Qabristan in Malegaon, when people gather to observe Shab-e-Baraat. At least 37 people died and 297 others were injured.

The NIA, which started the probe in April 2011 on the Union home ministry’s orders, has arrested four men—Dhan Singh, Lokesh Sharma, Manohar Singh and Rajendra Chaudhary. Sandeep Dange, Ramji Kalsangra and Raj Mehul are wanted in the case. The agency claims Chaudhary, Dhan, Manohar and Kalsangra had planted the bombs.

Asenior NIA official in Delhi refused to give more details saying the “case is sensitive”. Sharma, also an accused in the Samjhauta Express blast in 2007, and Chaudhary were members of the Bajrang Dal.

“There cannot be two sets of accused in one crime,” said an NIA officer, adding the agency was examining if there was a larger conspiracy involved. Another officer said the agency may ask the court to dismiss the charges against the nine arrested by the ATS. All were granted bail in November 2011.

On May 10, the NIA recorded the statement of Mohammed Atif, a prime witness in the case. The ATS had claimed that Atif had seen the attackers making the bombs and he hid in the godown of one of the accused. Atif later told a court in his hometown in Uttar Pradesh that he was forced to give the statement.

The NIA claims the decision to bomb the textile town was taken by senior members of the right-wing Hindu module, including former RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, who was later murdered allegedly by Kalsangra and Dange.

Kalsangra and Sharma were tasked with the execution, and they asked Chaudhary, Dhan Singh and Manohar Singh to plant the bombs.

The agency claims the team first recced Malegaon. On the day of the blasts, Sharma drove the team to Malegaon, where Kalsangra gave them the RDX and clothes to disguise themselves as Muslims. Kalsangra accompanied Dhan, Manohar and Chaudhary to place the bombs on bicycles in Bada Qabristan near Hamidiya mosque. After the blasts, Sharma drove them back to Indore.

The ATS, led by then joint police commissioner K P Raghuvanshi and director inspector general of police Subodh Jaiswal, filed a chargesheet on December 21, 2006. It took them just 54 days to file it; usually it takes up to 180 days in such cases. The CBI, after its own probe, had endorsed the ATS findings.

The NIA, set up in 2009 after the 26/11 terror attacks, focused on Hindu right-wing groups after a confession by Swami Aseemanand, who was arrested in the 2007 Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast case, it told the court last November. The agency has a Rs 10-lakh reward for Kalsangra and Dange.

The blasts were carried out by Muslim youths in an attempt to spark off communal riots The RDX came from Pakistan and its national, Muzammil, assembled them in Malegaon The bombs were planted by accused Noor-ul-Huda, Raees Ali and Abrar Ahmed
Zahid Majeed, an imam from Yavatmal, planted a bomb and returned the same day.

But around 250 Yavatmal residents filed affidavits saying he was in the town at the time Shabbir Masiullah, a battery shop owner, was part of the conspiracy. But at the time of the blasts, he was in custody of the Mumbai crime branch in another case

THE INCIDENT On September 8, 2006, bombs explode in Bada Qabristan in Malegaon when people gather to observe Shab-e-Baraat, killing 37 and injuring 297 others

Criminal lawyer Majeed Memon, who has represented several 1993 serial blasts accused, says two ideologically diagonally opposite groups can’t be responsible for a particular terror attack. “The NIA has to discharge the earlier set of boys, who were wrongly believed to be involved.”

The RDX was procured in India. The explosives were allegedly planted by Dhan Singh, Rajender Chaudhary, Ramji Kalsangra and Manohar Singh
Another Samjhauta blast accused, Lokesh Sharma, provided logistical support
The blasts were plotted by former RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange, and others. Kalsangra and Sharma were tasked with the execution
Chaudhary, Dhan and Manohar recced Malegaon to identify the targets

The Times of India, May 13, 2013