The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday denied a charge by Rohini Salian, former special public prosecutor in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, that one of its officers asked her to go soft in the matter in which some suspected right-wing extremists are accused.
The reaction came a day after it emerged that the law officer told the Bombay HC in an affidavit that Suhas Warke, a superintendent of police in the agency, attempted to impede the investigations into the attack on the Muslim-majority town in Maharashtra that killed four people while 79 were injured.
“We deny the allegation levelled by Rohini Salian,” said NIA chief Sharad Kumar. “We have already filed a counter-affidavit in the SC.”
Salian had also forwarded the sworn statement to the apex court in which she named the officer.
“I am disclosing the name of the NIA officer who had tried to interfere with the delivery of administration of justice, as a messenger,” the affidavit says, in response to a criminal writ petition seeking contempt proceedings against the probe agency. “His name is Shri Suhas Warke, SP, NIA, Mumbai Branch.”
The development comes months after Salian triggered a controversy when she said she was pressurised to go soft in the case after the NDA came to power.
Initial investigations cast suspicions on Pakistan-backed groups, but a probe by Maharashtra’s anti-terror squad (ATS) led to the arrest of serving army officer Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, self-styled ascetic Pragya Singh Thakur and avowed priest Sudhakar Dwivedi.
The ATS probe was led by top cop Hemant Karkare, who was killed in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, and it also pointed towards the involvement of a little-known Hindu group, Abhinav Bharat. The case was handed over to the NIA in 2009.