Centre has denied, in the Supreme Court that it pressurised the special public prosecutor in the 2008 Malegaon blasts to go soft on the accused in the case. The Centre said the home ministry (MHA) is yet to decide whether Rohini Salian would continue in the panel of the lawyers representing the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
MHA cleared its stand before the Supreme Court where a PIL, seeking a court monitored trial, is pending.
Activist Harsh Mander has moved the top court asking it to appoint a special prosecutor to conduct the case alleging the Centre was interfering with the trial. Mander had referred to Salian’s interview to a national daily where she reportedly said it was not possible for her to carry out her job independently.
Terming the allegations as baseless, the MHA said NIA enjoyed complete autonomy in all aspects relating to investigation. “The superintendence of the Central government over the NIA only extends to matters relating to the placement of personnel, making budgetary provisions and examining cases,” read the affidavit.
Earlier, NIA had termed Salian’s allegation as “unwarranted and baseless”. Refuting her claims, NIA told SC that no accused was granted bail since June 2014 when prosecutor was allegedly asked to “go soft”.
In Salian’s case, it added, the NIA has sought empanelment of new advocates because the term of the panel appointed in 2010 has ended. Salian isn’t the only one to be replaced. As per the NIA proposal, sent to the MHA on July 8, 2015, the special public prosecutors of Goa and Gujarat also have to be replaced. The MHA, however, is yet to take a final decision.