In its probe into Hindu terror cases, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) managed to nab almost all the foot-soldiers, but the agency has not been able to reach the masterminds of the conspiracy.
A group of Hindu extremists, allegedly led be slain former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Pracharak Sunil Joshi, was chargesheeted by the NIA in a series of blasts beginning from Malegaon (2006), Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Dargah Ajmer Sharif (all in 2007), and Malegaon and Modasa (Septmebr, 2008). The group allegedly carried out these blasts to take revenge of bomb attacks by jihadists.
Sources in the agency say two things made their task very difficult. Firstly, when the agency was asked to probe in 2011, many leads had gone dry due to the long time-gap as the blasts had taken place four to five years ago. Secondly, Sunil Joshi, the alleged gang leader of Hindu extremists, was murdered in December 2007 by his own men.
Joshi was allegedly a link between foot-soldiers and the brains behind the plot but his murder shut the door that could lead the agency to actual conspirators.
One of the top office bearers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Indresh Kumar, remained under the agency’s suspicion for a long time but it could not find any solid evidence to tie him with the Hindu terror probe and shut the probe against him.
The NIA officials also accept that in some of the cases, the probe was not up to the mark. Ashwini Sharma, assistant prosecutor in the Ajmer case said there were loopholes in the case probe.
“For instance, SIM cards were purchased and driving licenses were made for Devendra Gupta and Sunil Joshi, two of the accused, with fake IDs but no handwriting expert’s opinion was taken to analyse the writing or signatures on the forms,” said Sharma.
The NIA’s role has been under scrutiny of late as one of its special prosecutors in Mumbai, Rohini Salian, alleged that she was asked to go soft on accused in the Malegaon case by one of the agency officers. The NIA wriggled out of the situation by claiming that it was about to remove Salian and she got wind of the move and that is why she levelled the allegations.