BJP, Congress lock horns over ‘saffron terror’ cases

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 23, 2016 21:57 IST

The Opposition Congress demanded on Friday that National Investigation Agency (NIA) chief Sharad Kumar – who has been hired on contract post retirement – be sacked for allegedly trying to weaken terror cases involving right-wing groups at the behest of the Narendra Modi government.

Accusing the Centre of trying to sabotage cases such as the 2008 Malegaon blasts trial that points at the possible role of senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader, the Congress also demanded that all cases being investigated by the NIA be placed before the Supreme Court.

“It is surprising that the NIA director general was given an extension after retirement. Is there a shortage of competent IPS officer? We want his immediate removal,” Congress spokesman Ajoy Kumar said. The NIA chief had recently said that there was no case against Lt Col Shrikant Purohit in Samjhauta blast case.

The Congress spokesman accused the BJP of misleading the country as Purohit is accused in the Malegaon case and not Samjhauta express blast.

“Modi government, in an almost Goebellian way, is trying to tell people that Col Purohit has got a clean chit in Samjhauta Express blast. Col Purohit not an involved in the Samjhauta Express blast. Why is the NIA giving him a clean chit on this? This shows how the Modi government is trying to divert all the discussion on this investigation,” the Congress spokesman said.

Congress’ demand came on a day the BJP launched a full scale attack against it for coining “saffron or Hindu terror” terminology and compromising on national security “for political gains”.

“Use of such phrases by top Congress leaders almost one and an half year before cases were properly transferred (to NIA), when there was no probe report or court’s proceedings raises a big question about their intentions... (they) make it appear that this was not the natural outcome of investigation,” BJP spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi said.

Trivedi said the saffron terror phrase was first used in 2009 and then Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had reportedly said in an interaction in July 2010 that ‘Hindu terrorism’ was more dangerous than other terrorism.

Earlier, the Congress spokesman said, “Since Modi Govt came to power we have seen witnesses turn hostile. Be it in the Samjhauta Express, Ajmer or Malegaon Blasts.” Accusing that pressure was being put on NIA to safeguard the RSS, Kumar said three witnesses turned hostile in Ajmer blast case.

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