Chargesheet in Malegaon case did not reject ATS report: NIA chief

  • Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 15, 2016 01:30 IST
Forensic experts search for clues at the blast site in Maharashtra’s Malegaon on September 30, 2008. (HT File Photo)

NIA chief Sharad Kumar has denied the charge that the federal anti-terror probe agency dismissed the investigation carried out by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), while filing the supplementary chargesheet in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case.

“How can anyone say we dismissed the ATS probe? Our investigation, in fact, supports the probe carried out by the ATS. But we cannot base our investigation on statements taken under coercion and recoveries made using questionable methods. We evaluated the evidence in a professional manner and charged only 10 accused,” said Kumar.

He added that the NIA let off the four accused — Pragya Thakur, Shyam Sahu, Shivnarayan Kalsangra and Pravin Takalki — in the case as the evidence against them was insufficient.

“In fact, except for Pragya Singh Thakur and one or two other accused who had minor charges, we have filed charges against the same set of accused,” Kumar said on Saturday. The NIA has charged 10 of the 14 people earlier named by the ATS as accused.

The remarks came on a day when the BJP heightened its attack on the Congress over the NIA chargesheet. Attacking the then UPA government, the BJP said it “fixed” people in Malegaon and Samjhauta Express blasts cases and that allowed Pakistan to deflect the blame when it was put in the dock over the issue of terrorism.

“The Congress should not do politics over the NIA’s decision but atone for its conspiracy... There was no evidence against Pragya Thakur. Digvijaya Singh had even blamed RSS for the Mumbai attack,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.

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