The Special Public Prosecutor in the Malegaon blasts case of 2008, Rohini Salian, in a shocking revelation putting the Judiciary at stake, has said that she was told to go soft in the case after the NDA government came to power.
Salian appeared for the National Investigating Agency (NIA) who probes the Malegaon case involving Hindu extremists who were accused of carrying out the explosions. She revealed that an NIA officer approached her as soon as the present government came to power asking her to go soft in the case and reappeared a second time on June 12 telling her that she would no longer be appearing in the case. Salian said that the NIA took over the case from the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad in 2011. But the agency wasn’t able to start the investigations until April due to many pending cases. The prosecutor also said that the Supreme Court had decided to transfer the trial to a special court under a special judge and that set the trial back. The NIA which also handles other terror cases involving alleged Hindu extremists has denied the allegations saying that Salian was making up accusations because the agency was planning to remove her as its special public prosecutor due to her failure to perform.
The NIA has failed so far to gather even a single piece of evidence related to ‘Hindu’ terror attacks including Malegaon. The allegations of the prosecutor are therefore a fact. The Malegaon blasts in Maharashtra were pinned on Muslim extremists until the state’s Anti Terrorism Squad led by Hemant Karkare identified the hand of Hindu extremists in it and other similar cases like the Mecca Masjid blasts in Hyderabad, the blasts in Samjhauta Express and Ajmer Sharif in 2007, the Modasa explosion in Gujarat in 2008 and the Malegaon incident in 2006. His hard work led to many breakthroughs which led to the filing of a charge sheet. Karkare was killed later in 2008 in the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. The document consists of transcripts of secret meetings of the extremists and revealed the fascist agenda of the Hindu right-wing groups. It also contains evidences of the role of Sangh Parivar in the Malegaon blast case. The NIA has not only submitted the charge sheet but the investigation is moving at a slow pace.
Former special public prosecutor for the Maharashtra government in the Bombay High Court, Pandurang Pol and a former ATS officer, who was part of Karkare's team, came forward supporting Salian. The NIA had earlier attempted to post State additional advocate general Anil Singh in the place of Salian. But it was rejected by the judges. The intervention by the Court greatly helps solve such cases. It was only when the official apathy in neglecting many cases related to the 2002 Gujarat genocide surfaced, that the Supreme Court stepped in and directed investigations, set up special courts and followed the judicial process in those cases to settle them properly. But despite all the efforts, the criminals escape the law including the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case. The government apparently stands with the corrupt and the criminals. The startling revelations by Salian assume relevance in this context. The Supreme Court should take up the matter and initiate steps that would save the people’s trust in the Judiciary.