Cong alleges PMO hand in 'reversal' of NIA stand in Malegaon

Cong alleges PMO hand in 'reversal' of NIA stand in Malegaon

Stepping up attack, Congress today alleged "direct interference" of PMO in the "sudden reversal" of NIA's stand in the 2008 Malegaon blast case and pressed for a Supreme Court-monitored probe into it while apprehending that Samjhauta Express blast case may also meet the same fate.

The opposition party asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to uphold his Constitutional oath and discharge duties in line with that oath irrespective of his "ideology".

The NIA (National Investigation Agency) has become 'Namo Investigation Agency', senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said at a press conference here while contending that the chargesheet appears to be aimed at "decimating and demolishing" the "meticulous" probe conducted by Maharashtra ATS led by late Hemant Karkare.

He demanded Supreme Court-monitored probe in the "sudden reversal" of the stance that has led to exoneration of six accused including Sadhvi Pragya and "dilution" of the case against the remaining accused on account of withdrawal of MCOCA and other offences.

He accused the government of "consistently" trying to save those who follow their ideology or belong to their associated outfits and are faced with charges.

"There was direct interference from the PMO...from his (PM's) office, I have said it earlier and everything is being proved, a dirty tricks department is being run. This government is centrally co-ordinated," Sharma said.

Elaborating, he said Col P S Purohit, an accused in the blast case, had allegedly written a letter to NSA Ajit Doval on January 6 and on January 8, it reached the Home Ministry and on January 9, the Home Ministry "started working" on it.

"...I have not seen such speed in movement of even files in the government," the Congress leader said.

"Our demand is clear. We insist the Prime Minister that his office, when he takes oath, he doesn't belong to a particular party, ideology, but the Prime Minister of India and should discharge duties in line with the oath," he said.

While pressing for Supreme Court-monitored probe, Sharma said the apex court should take "seize" all the papers relating the case, relating the probe, confessional statements, charge sheet and the correspondence among government, NIA, attorney general, NIA and Home Ministry, among Home Ministry, Home secretary and PMO.

"There is rule of law in the country and law doesn't discriminate. If this permission is given, like I said, then we ourselves are weakening India's case against terrorism. Because, dropping MACOCA means, the recorded statements which courts accept as evidences, will be useless now," he said.

"The developments have raised question mark on the integrity of India and its commitment to fight the forces of terror, having taken this position that India is a victim of organised terrorism, the targeted victim over decades, India is determined to fight terrorism, we condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestation," the former minister said.

While demanding PM's intervention in the case, Sharma questioned whether, with the fresh NIA stance, the government was "negating" Karkare's "sacrifice for the country" by calling it as "dubious".

He also expressed apprehension that after the Malegaon case, the Narendra Modi dispensation may "destroy" the 2007 Samjhauta Express matter too, claiming that the NIA  is "working" in that direction.

He claimed the agency dropped MCOCA charges in Malegaon case to see that all the statements recorded by the ATS become "inadmissible as evidence".

The Congress leader alleged that NIA chief Sharad Kumar was given extension in service to get this work done.

"Whatever they are doing are doing in a planned manner. If there is no MCOCA, all those who gave statements will deny to have made the statements and court will not take cognisance and all (the accused will be out). And things will repeat," he said.

Referring to an alleged statement by the NIA chief that nothing had happened after 2008, Sharma said, "The question is not which organisation, which caste, religion and people of which region are involved. But whether a NIA chief should say such thing? One who was to be relieved, has been given extension to get these things done."

He accused the government of "consistently" trying to save those who follow their ideology or belong to their associated outfits and are face with charges.

"…and (also) show that the earlier probes, charges which were filed and arrests made were all wrong. The fact is, the steps were taken only after proper probe. We have always maintained that, with lot of seriousness, that terrorism and crime have no caste and religion," he added.

AICC spokesperson RPN Singh, who also addressed the press conference, referred to reports of Colonel Purohit writing to the NSA allegedly seeking the latter's intervention in the case, and said it was a matter of concern.

"I want to know how many letters the NSA receives from such terrorists and has he forwarded it to the Home Ministry for action? If this is the internal security of the country, if this is how the terror cases will be politicised, then it is a matter of concern," he said.

Singh said the UPA government had set up the NIA and ensured it remained above political interference "as terrorism can not be compromised with".

"This is the first time we see that such terror plots which hurt the very heart and soul of this country are being manipulated by the government and people who gave up their lives to protect the very idea of this country are being postured as wrong and people who tried to destroy this country their allegations are being held as being true," he added.

Referring to the Samjhauta blast case, Sharma alleged that the NIA was working in a direction similar to the Malegaon case.

He said news was being "planted" in newspapers that "information had been received in 2009, through America, that some other organisations were behind this (Samjhauta Express blast)...some Karachi-based industrialist had put money in the Samjhauta Express blast. Chargesheet has been filed in that case too.

"And who gave the information? I am telling you today, it is some jihadi who is in a jail in America since 2003. And he is giving information about 2007 Samjhauta Blast case."

The Deputy Leader of Congress in the Rajya Sabha also accused the government of intervening in functioning of all the arms like investigative agencies, prosecution and judiciary dealing with the explosion case.

In this context, he cited the claim made by former special public prosecutor in the matter Rohini Salian last year that she was "pressurised to go soft" on the accused in the case.

Salian, he said, was removed by the BJP government and NIA, in the wake of her claims.

The "same story" has repeated itself again as the current special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal too has stated that he was "not even informed" about filing of the chargesheet by NIA yesterday, the Congress leader said. 

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