Raising many uncomfortable questions on investigations into the terror cases in the country, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday officially charged four Hindu extremists for planting bombs outside a Malegaon mosque on September 8, 2006 that claimed 38 lives.
Two investigation agencies - Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the CBI has charged nine Muslims - Salman Farsi, Shabir Ahmed, Noorulhuda, Rais Ahmed, Mohammed Ali, Asif Khan, Javed Sheikh, Faroogue Ansari and Abrar Ahmed for the Malegaon blasts. All of them remained in jail for more than five year before being granted bail when names of Hindu extremists started surfacing in the case.
Two of the Malegaon accused-Mohammad Ali and Asif Khan - are accused in the July 11, 2006 Mumbai train blasts case as well. Therefore, they are still in behind bars as they are facing trial in the case.
In January 2011, HT had reported a startling claim made by Mohammad Ali that he was charged in the Malegaon blasts as he refused to turn approver in the train blasts case. Ali had also claimed that he was in illegal custody when the Malegaon blasts took place. But his claims were not properly investigated.
According to the NIA chargesheet, four former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activists - Dhan Singh, Rajendra Chaudhary, Manohar and Lokesh Sharma planted four improvised explosive devices (IEDs), strapped on bicycles, in the textile town of Maharashtra.
"This is the first chargesheet in the case. Three accused-Sandeep Dange, Ramchandra Kalasangra and Amit alias Ashwini Chauhan - are yet to be apprehended. Investigation against them and slain former RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi is continuing. They were the conspirators who planned bomb blasts in Malegaon, Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Dargah Ajmer Sharif," said a senior NIA official.
According to sources, in the present Malegaon chargesheet, the NIA has bared the linkages between groups of Hindu extremists active in Madhya Pradesh and Mahsrashtra and how they came together in Pune in 2004 to participate in the Raigad training camp.