Raghuvanshi as chief to turn ATS to pre-Karkare era?

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,

New Delhi: Hardly had settled down the storm created by Union Minority Affairs Minister A R Antulay’s demand for probe into the circumstances leading to the death of Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, serious doubts are now being raised about the impartiality and secular credibility of K P Raghuvanshi, Karkare’s successor.

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JD(U) MP in the Rajya Sabha, Shivanand Tiwary, on Tuesday raised questions over acting Maharashtra ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi’s association with Malegaon blast accused Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit, and demanded his immediate removal. Tiwary has alleged that Raghuvanshi as ATS chief had invited Purohit in 2005 at the ATS headquarters.

K P Raghuvanshi, 1980 batch IPS officer, was appointed ATS chief hours after the killing of Hemant Karkare and some of his close aides during the Mumbai terrorist attacks on November 26.

Till January 22, 2008 when Mumbai Police Joint Commissioner (Administration) Hemant Karkare was appointed Chief of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) K P Raghuvanshi was holding the additional charge of the ATS, in addition to discharging the responsibilities as Additional Director General (Railway Security).

K P Raghuvanshi held that additional charge about three years of the four-year-old Maharashtra ATS. It is surprising to note that probe of every terrorist attack occurred in those three years in Maharashtra was directed to a particular community members, and none of the case has reached to natural conclusion. But the first, and only, terror blast that took place in the period of Hemant Karkare (September 29, 2008 in Malegaon) and probed by Karkare and his team exposed, for the first time in the country, the face of Hindutva terrorism.

The major terrorist attacks that took place in Maharashtra between 2005 and January 2008 (when Raghuvanshi was holding ATS charge) are as follows:

25 August 2005, twin blasts in Mumbai: Two powerful car-bomb explosions took place in South Mumbai in which at least 46 persons were killed and 160 injured.

1 June 2006, attack on RSS headquarters in Nagpur: Three militants were killed in an attack on RSS Headquarters.

11 July 2006, Mumbai train blasts: At least 190 people were killed and 625 injured in the blasts in first class compartments of several trains.

8 September 2006, serial blasts in Malegaon: 40 people killed in two blasts near a mosque and a Muslim graveyard.

All these cases are pending in courts with scores of Muslim youths, suspected to be involved in the attacks, are languishing in jails. Various questions and serious allegations have been made against some investigating officers in these cases.

In November 2006 Dr Tanveer Ansari, one of the main accused in the July 11, 2006 Mumbai train blasts, had shocked people when he disclosed in a letter to the MCOCA court as to how he was coerced by ATS Chief K P Raghuvanshi and other senior officers to confess.

Ansari, in a letter to MCOCA court on November 3, had alleged that Raghuvanshi told him that the police knew he (Ansari) had no role in the blasts but asked him to lie to strengthen their case. He had also alleged that another officer tried to bribe him saying he would be paid if he memorised a statement indicting him and stuck to it in court.

It is difficult to say that with Raghuvanshi as ATS chief the elite group of the Maharashtra police will follow Karkare.