Advocates of Maha ATS will oversee the hearing of Malegaon-2008 blast case

Mumbai, January 15

Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil said here on Saturday that the counsel for the Maharashtra government, concerned over the turning away of witnesses in the Malegaon-2008 blasts case, will now be in the special NIA court, where the hearing is being held on a daily basis.

He told media persons that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the matter (from the state ATS), but the state government is upset with the way many important witnesses have turned hostile in the special court.

The significant development came two days after the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) ally Congress raised the issue and drew the attention of the Home Ministry and ATS.

Congress state working president M. Arif Naseem Khan had submitted a memorandum to Additional Director General of Police and ATS chief Vineet Agarwal urging him to take necessary measures to closely monitor the matter.

“We are grateful to Home Minister Walse-Patil for accepting the demand of a team to oversee the court proceedings. The presence of ATS lawyers will help in a free and fair trial,” Khan said in a statement.

Khan, a former minister, reiterated that the NIA was allegedly “diluting” the Malegaon-2008 case and not pursuing it with “honesty and integrity”.

In his memorandum to ATS chief Agrawal, Khan argued that witnesses are turning hostile and naming Bharatiya Janata Party-RSS leaders to “defame Maharashtra government and ATS” to gain political mileage in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections. are.

September 29, 2008 (Malegaon 2008) A bomb blast allegedly by Hindu fundamentalists in this minority-majority Nashik city killed 6 people and injured over 100 others while Muslims were breaking their fast .

The Maharashtra Police and then the ATS investigated the case until 2011, when it was taken over by the NIA, and the trial continues daily before a special NIA court in Mumbai.

Khan said that of the 223 witnesses who were examined, 16 turned hostile and claimed that the ATS harassed them for giving evidence against the accused.

The accused in the sensational Malegaon 2008 case include BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Swami Amritanand Dev Teerth, Dayanand Pandey, Lt. Colonel Prasad S. Purohit, and others.

Khan said an attempt was being made to tarnish the ATS as an ‘anti-Hindu’ agency, with witnesses, allegedly influenced by the accused, deliberately trying to scuttle the BJP-RSS ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections for political gains. Named the people.

“NIA is not prosecuting all the accused honestly and honestly. So far, statements of 223 witnesses have been recorded out of which 16 have turned hostile and more than 100 are yet to be examined. Need to be protected. The NIA has not challenged any order passed in favor of the accused, which clearly shows their intentions,” Khan said.

Some witnesses in the Malegaon 2008 case even went beyond their recorded statements by mentioning names like Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, but the Special Public Prosecutor of the NIA took no objection, and another witness claimed that He was harassed by the ATS and threatened to take his name. Yogi and 4 RSS leaders.

–IANS