Harsh Mander’s PIL seeks probe into Salian’s allegation about NIA asking her to ‘go soft in Malegaon blast case’

By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter,

New Delhi: In a development that may embarrass the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the central government, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed on Tuesday before the Supreme Court seeking a probe against the alleged “arbitrary actions of NIA officials and their political masters” in pressurizing and removing earlier public prosecutor Rohini Salian from Malegaon blast case of 2008.

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The PIL filed by social activist Harsh Mander has also sought appointment of high standard Special Public Prosecutor for the 2008 Malegaon blasts case.

Mander alleged that under the directions of political masters, the NIA officials had pressurised Rohini Salian, erstwhile Special Public Prosecutor in the case, to “go soft” on the accused in the proceedings of Malegaon 2008 blasts that is blamed on Hindu extremists.

Advocate Rohini Salian (Courtesy: Dnaindia)

The Ministry of Home Affairs, the NIA and the State of Maharashtra are named in the petition by Mander.

The PIL has been filed in the wake of June 24 interview to an English Daily Indian Express by Salian wherein she had alleged that the behavior of NIA changed after the new regime came to power at the Centre and she was told to “go soft” in the case implying it does not matter even if the agency receives unfavorable orders in the case.

The allegations were refuted by the NIA saying she was informed of being removed from the case due to which she went public with allegations. Salian is no more the public prosecutor in the Malegaon 2008 case.

The petition – filed on Tuesday through senior counsel Indira Jaising – alleged that Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which is the controlling Ministry of NIA, “has been allegedly trying to influence/pressurize an honest Public Prosecutor to go soft on the accused persons”.

Mander has sought the Supreme Court’s intervention to ensure a fair trial as there were reasons to “credibly fear” that “executive is attempting to influence the judicial system to cave in to the pressure exerted by it in all matters, including affording protection to right wing extremists who sympathize with its ideology.”

The petition asserts that the disclosures made by Salian cannot be brushed aside and has to be viewed seriously. It asks the court to appoint an independent special public prosecutor of “impeccable standing and integrity” to replace Salian in the case.

“State interference in judicial processes violates the fundamental right to a free, fair and transparent trial. It is the state’s duty to protect its citizens from terror irrespective of where it originates from, the creed and/or religion of the perpetrators,” the petition contends, adding at another place, “The petition is intended to ensure that the public prosecutor in the said 2008 Malegaon blast case and several other cases registered and under trial in which the same group of persons are the accused, performs his or her duties free of any influence/control of Government or otherwise.”

The petition also seek investigation into Salian’s allegations by a court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Central Bureau of Investigation and to subsequently register First Information Report (FIR) against such officials found to have involved in “illegal and arbitrary” actions overcoming the process of established law.

Mander told TwoCircles.net that he was prompted to file the PIL because he was “worried about the signs of different arms of criminal justice system” vis-à-vis citizens concerned in view of the series of incidents “where Hindutva terror accused” are getting bail.

“The idea of public fairness is compromised,” he said and added, “the only prayer is that the Supreme Court should take investigation under its wings and ensure that the Constitution is upheld.”

The petition is due for hearing and but not presently listed at Supreme Court cases.


Rebuttal to NIA’s counter claim over PP Salian’s allegations of going ‘soft’ in Malegaon case