Forced to name BJP leaders in Malegaon blast case, says witness

Witness was declared hostile by special NIA court

A witness deposing in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast trial told the special court on Tuesday that officers of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), the then probe agency of the case, forced him to falsely name Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and four others Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders.

The witness was being cross-examined by the special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal before the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on his statement recorded under section 161 (examination of witnesses by police) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr Rasal said the witness was being cross-examined for his statement recorded by the ATS. “The witness said he was forced by Param Bir Singh (former ATS chief) and other officers to name Yogi Adityanath, Deodhar, Kakaji and two others. The court declared him hostile,” Mr. Rasal said.

Malegaon is a city in the Nashik district in Maharashtra where a bomb exploded on September 28, killing six and injuring over 100. On July 15, 2020, NIA counsel told the Bombay High Court that it will consider reducing the number of witnesses in the trial. He said there are originally 491 witnesses of which 181 have been examined.

After a case was filed by Azad Nagar Police Station, it was re-registered by ATS in November 2008 and Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) charges were applied. In January 2009, the ATS had filed its first chargesheet followed by a supplementary chargesheet filed in April 2011.

However, in April 2011, the Ministry of Home Affairs had suo motu directed the NIA to take up further investigation of the case. The central agency had registered cases under provisions of MCOCA, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Explosives Substances Act and the Indian Penal Code.

On May 13, 2016, the NIA had filed its second supplementary chargesheet but dropped MCOCA charges against BJP’s Member of Parliament Pragya Singh Thakur, Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, Sameer Kulkarni, Ramesh Upadhyay and Sudhakar Chaturvedi.

Source: Read Full Article