Cannot oppose Samjhauta blast accused's bail: Centre

Last Updated 12 August 2015, 05:31 IST

Amid charges that Hindutva-related terror cases are being put on the back burner, the government on Tuesday said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has found no ground to challenge the bail of Swami Aseemanand, an accused in the Samjhauta Express blast case.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said in the Lok Sabha that Aseemanand — also an accused in Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blast cases — continues to remain in jail as he did not comply with the bail conditions specified in the Punjab and Haryana High Court order on August 28, 2014..

“The NIA examined the feasibility of filing a Special Leave Petition and decided there was no ground to challenge the Supreme Court order,” said Chaudhary in a written reply to a question by AIMIM member Asaduddin Owaisi.

The order was issued on March 28 last year but the court issued a certified copy only on May 1 this year, he said.

The government also did not find it fit to challenge the March 21, 2014, order granting bail to Devender Gupta and Lokesh Sharma, accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case.
Chaudhary said the It was done “on grounds of parity”, as the government did not challenge the bail to two other accused — Bharat Mohan Lal alias Bharat Bhai and Tejaram Parmar — in separate orders in June 2012. However, he said, they remain in jail as they are accused in other cases, too.

“This badly exposes the BJP’s claims of zero tolerance to terrorism. It is a deliberate attempt to help people from a particular ideological stream escape conviction. By not challenging these bail orders, the government wants to view them in a lenient way.
This will help people like Aseemanand apply for bail in other cases and walk free,” Owaisi told Deccan Herald.

The government’s reply comes at a time when it is accused of going slow in terror cases related to Hindu right-wing groups and trying to help them get off lightly.
Recently, Special Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian said she was asked to go soft on the accused in the Malegaon blast case. Also, a number of prosecution witnesses have changed their stand in court regarding the Ajmer blast case.

The issue could also find resonance during the bilateral National Security Advisor-level talks, where Pakistan is likely to point out the delay in the Samjhauta blast trial, in which people from that country were killed.

SC direction sought

Meanwhile, bureaucrat-turned-activist Harsh Mander on Monday approached the Supreme Court seeking its intervention to ensure fair trial in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case. He accused the NDA government of trying to interfere with the functioning of the case's public prosecutor, Salian.

He contended that the executive attempted to influence the judicial system in breach of repeated directives by the apex court. In a PIL filed through senior advocate Indira Jaising, he said NIA officials had pressured Salian. He sought a direction to the Centre to appoint an advocate of eminence as special public prosecutor to conduct fair trial, and constitute a special CBI team to probe NIA officials who reportedly pressured Salian.
DH News Service

(Published 12 August 2015, 05:31 IST)

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