NIA gives clean chit to Sadhvi and others without conducting custodial interrogation

By A Mirsab,,

Mumbai: In a controversial development, India’s elite National Investigation Agency (NIA) today gave clean chit to 6 accused, including Sadhvi Pragya Thakur in Malegaon 2008 blasts case sighting lack of prosecutable evidences against them.

Support TwoCircles

However, one would be amazed to know that NIA never conducted custodial interrogation of any of the accused in the case.

On September 29, 2008 blast had taken place at Bhiku square opposite Shakil Goods Transport Company in a textile town Malegaon. The blast was caused by LML Freedom motorcycle with explosives concealed inside. 4 people had dead and 79 injured due to the blast.

NIA was investigating the case since five years and today it submitted charge sheet before the special NIA court in Mumbai against 10 accused and specifically said prosecution is not maintainable against 6 other accused.

The accused against whom charges are annihilated includes Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur amongst five others – Shiv Narayan Kalsangra, Shyam Bhavarlal Sahu, Praveen Takkalki, Lokesh Sharma and Dhan Singh Choudhury.

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur was the first arrest when Maharshtra ATS headed by late Hemant Karkare investigated the case in 2008 as the LML bike used in the blasts was registered under her name and all other accused including col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit were subsequently arrested on her interrogation.

Arresting total 12 people belonging to right wing organization Abhinaw Bharat for the blasts ATS filed charge sheet against them on January 30, 2009. A supplementary charge sheet was filed by ATS on April 21, 2011.

Ministry of Home Affairs transferred investigation of the case from state ATS to NIA with the order dated April 1, 2011 following which NIA registered a fresh FIR under its police station on April 13, 2011.

NIA initially interrogated these accused separately inside Taloja Central Jail in the presence of jailor. Then it felt need of custodial interrogation of accused and hence NIA applied for custodial interrogation of three accused Purohit, Dwivedi and Upadhyay before special MCOCA court. The special judge Y D Shinde on July 19, 2011 allowed NIA custody of these accused for 8 days between July 22, 2011 to July 30, 2011.

These accused appealed against such order before Bombay High Court and secured temporary stay till it decides the matter. The Bombay High Court later on upheld special court’s order on October 20, 2011 and allowed NIA to conduct custodial interrogation of these accused.

The accused immediately appealed this order too before Supreme Court (SLP 9303/2011) and got operation of it stayed till Supreme Court finally decides the appeal. That means NIA’s plea for custody of the three main accused in the blasts viz. Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, Sudhakar Udaybhan Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey and Major (retd) Ramesh Upadhyaya is pending before Supreme Court since November 2011.

NIA never conducted custodial interrogation of any of the accused in last five years nor did it confronted accused to unearth conspiracy and individual roles played by them in the blasts. After hearing the matter for nearly 40 months, divisional bench of Supreme Court reserved its judgment on February 24, 2015 and its been over 14 months but the Supreme Court has not pronounced its order.

But never did we hear from NIA that it’s plea for custodial interrogation of the accuse d is pending before Supreme Court, perhaps it has now become unenergetic to seriously follow the investigation of the case.
In the absence of custodial interrogation and confrontation NIA’s clean chit to six accused, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur raises substantial doubt over agency’s professionalism and autonomy in handling the case.

One is bound to ask a basic question on what basis then NIA provided clean chit to these accused who were never interrogated in custody nor were confronted before each other.

This gives rise to one another question as to why NIA is in a hurry to give clean chit when these three main accused in the case who had close proximity with Sadhvi Pragya, who had exchanged messages soon after her arrest expressing fear, are yet to be confronted before each other in a custodial interrogation.

It is beyond imagination that NIA can ever give clean chit to a terrorist or an accused of ‘blasts’ without even taking him/her under its custody, is this not a clear case of working under the boss for NIA?


Malegaon 2008 Blasts: NIA’s plea for custodial interrogation of accused pending in SC for 4 years