ON the orders of Supreme Court of India, a special court was constituted to exclusively hear the case of twelve persons including Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit, Dyanand Pandey alias Swami Amritanand Dev, Rakesh Dhawade, Major Ramesh Upadhyay (Retd) and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, who are in judicial custody since October 2008. In the recent development, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed fresh charge sheet against 10 accused, letting off Pragya Singh and five others, due to lack of evidence. NIA also revealed that it had submitted in its charge sheet that the prosecution against them was not maintainable.
Last year, the NIA also dropped charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against all the accused, including Colonel Purohit. One wonders the case does not appear to be as straight as it appears and has put a question mark on the credibility of NIA and Indian judiciary. Interestingly, NIA has totally backed out from its earlier investigations that Indian Military Intelligence and Army are involvement in terrorism. The new version claims Colonel Purohit was not involved in the Samjhauta blast case but investigation against him is underway in connection with the Malegaon blast case.
It hardly matters weather the charge against Pragya Singh is correct that she provided a motorcycle that was used in an explosion or her claim bears weight that she sold off motorcycle two years before the attack. Many analysts are of the view that with change in political govt in India terrorist were changed into heroes overnight. The Congress government is being accused for having hatched Hindu terror plot whereas, the Congress in counter accusation blames Prime Minister’s office of interfering in 2008 Malegaon blast case to give clean chits to those linked with RSS-BJP. What these analysts are missing is an open secret that the investigations carried out by Indian Chief of Maharashtra’s Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS), Hemant Karkare (Ashoka Chakra) were correct beyond any doubt.
However, one of the aims of Mumbai attacks of Nov 26 was to eliminate Karkare, who had provided incriminating evidences against India state actors for their involvement in terrorism across India and neighbouring Pakistan. No doubt, the conversations that took place between the members of the terrorist network involved in Malegaon blasts clearly indicated about a chemical powder which could kill a person in two to three days if applied to his footwear. In between the conversation, there were highly provokable, abusive and derogatory remarks about RSS General Secretary Mohan Bhagwat. Presently, the tapes containing conversations are held by Maharastra Police. Interestingly, Nationalist Congress Party leader, Jitendra Awhad also disclosed in the assembly that the Malegaon blast culprits had conspired to kill RSS General Secretary Bhagwat in order to pass on the blame to Inter Services Intelligence.
After the new changes in previous investigations and court proceedings, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur would face trial under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Colonel Purohit and nine others will be tried for charges including murder and conspiracy under the provisions of anti-terror law UAPA, IPC, Arms Act and Explosives Substance Act. In a recent statement, Director General of NIA Sharad Kumar again tried a fail attempt to dispel the common perception that NIA changed its stance on the direction from new BJP government.
The role of Indian Military Intelligence in violence and terrorism has become an open secret and is also linked with corruption. Indeed, there is Indian state sponsored machinery involved. Nevertheless, despite the fact that over one and a half dozen officers belonging to Indian Army were involved in Malegaon, Nanded and Samjoutha Express terrorism but we cannot brand whole of Indian Army and intelligence as terrorist organisations.
— The writer is a political analyst based in Islamabad.