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2008 Malegaon blasts: Witness claims ATS tortured him, others

mumbai Updated: Jan 04, 2017 01:07 IST
Charul Shah
Malegaon 2008

Lakshmibai, wife of Ramchandra Kalsangra who is alleged to have been killed by ATS officers, attends a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday.(Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)

Days after former officer of Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) Mehboob Mujawar alleged Ramchandra Kalsangra, a wanted accused in the Malegaon 2008 blasts case, was killed in the police custody, a witness said he and other witnesses were abducted and forced to give incriminatory statements against Kalsangra.

While addressing a press conference in the city on Tuesday, Dilip Nahar, whom ATS had shown as witness in a chargesheet, sought a probe into Mujawar’s allegation. Nahar, Kalsangra’s neighbour, alleged that he was picked up on October 16 and forced to give a statement to the ATS. “They tortured me and other witnesses. They also cut my hair to humiliate me and made me sign blank pages. They also forced me to narrate a story against Kalsangra before the magistrate court,” Nahar alleged.

Nahar said witnesses Dilip Patidar and Dharmendra Bairagi too were abducted by the ATS.

He said soon after they were released by the agency they went to Indore and retracted their statement before the magistrate and filed a complaint against the police officials. “The complaint is still pending and the magistrate is yet to take cognizance of the same,” Nahar added. When the National Investigating Agency (NIA) took the investigation, they have considered the allegations of Nahar and freshly recorded the statements of Nahar and Bairagi.

While the NIA had probed torture allegations on Nahar and Bairagi, whereabouts of Patidar are still not known. “I remember the date — it was November 10, 2008 — when my sister-in-law (Patidar’s wife, Padma) made a call. We were residing in the village while Dilip and his family had shifted to Indore. On November 10, Padma called me and said some people claiming to be officers came home and took Dilip with them,” said the younger brother of Patidar, Ramswarup Patidar, who was too present in the press conference. Ramswarup had on the same day registered a complaint with the local police station and the issue had travelled to the Madhya Pradesh high court. The court had ordered CBI to probe the allegation.

“We were harassed by the CBI and nothing came out,” Ramswarup added.

However, the CBI has in their investigation named assistant commissioner Rajan Ghule and police inspector Ramesh More in the case and initiated prosecution against them. The two were also arrested by the central agency.

An improvised explosive device hidden in a motorcycle had gone off on September 29, 2008, in Malegaon town killing six people and injuring 101.

The ATS had arrested several people, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, in this connection and filed a charge sheet against 14 people, including Kalsangre and Sandeep Dange, who are listed as wanted.

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