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.
THE 2006 EXPLOSIONS TANGLE DECODING THE PROBE
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
FIVE AGENCIES, THREE CHARGESHEETS
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
CRY FOR JUSTICE
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