Family members of Ramchandra Kalsangra, one of the accused in the Malegaon 2008 blast case, want an investigation into the allegation that the ‘absconding’ Kalsangra had been killed along with another wanted accused in 2008, while in the Maharashtra anti-terrorist squad’s (ATS) custody.
As the news about the alleged killing of Ramchandra, also known as Ramji, in police custody broke, his family members — wife Laxmibai, 40, elder son Devavrat, 22, and brother Shivnarayan visited the city and demanded a probe into the allegation that Ramji had been killed by the ATS in 2008 itself.
The trio travelled to the city from Indore on Monday. They wanted details of Ramji’s whereabouts and the truth about the reports of his alleged killing in ATS custody — as recorded in a statement made by a former officer of the Maharashtra ATS, Mehboob Mujawar.
Mujawar claimed the two key accused — Ramchandra Kalsangre and Sandeep Dange, shown as wanted in the case — were not missing but had, in fact, been killed by the ATS on November 26, 2008. Mujwar said that the two had been picked up with another accused, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, and were later gunned down in Mumbai.
Devavrat, who is studying law at Indore, told Hindustan Times: “We were so shocked after news reached us. We want to know what happened to my father. Till now, we had hope that someday he might come back, but we stand nowhere now. We want the culprits to be brought to book.”
Narrating the ordeal that the family went through after Ramji left home, his wife, Laxmibai said, “It was Dussehra. It was usual for him to leave home for days. On that day too, he left in the evening saying he was going to work. We believed that since it’s a festive day, he would have more work. We did not check for a couple of days.”
It was October 10, 2008 when the family members last saw Ramji. Laxmi added that she and the family were left all alone with their three kids and no other means to survive. Ramji and Shivnarayan were the only breadwinners for the family.
“We hail from a small village in Madhya Pradesh. In 1991, we shifted to Indore as Ramji started freelancing as an electrician. I was still studying. Ramji was the one who shouldered all responsibilities of the family. I joined him later,” Shivnarayan said, remembering the struggle of their days without Ramji. “We thought he had gone for work until Shinarayan was picked up by the ATS. We got very scared,” said Bhuvan Deshmukh, a family friend who is accompanying the family.
Adding to the conversation Shivnarayan said that the ATS first picked him up, after five or six days of Ramji’s disappearance. “They kept me in illegal detention for a few days till they finally produced me before the court. The ATS officers, including senior IPS officers, tortured me and another accused. They threatened to implicate us in the case if we didn’t disclose Ramji’s whereabouts. We were clueless and had no information,” Shivanrayan said.
Shivnarayan is one of the six accused including Sadhvi Pragya Singh whom the National Investigation Agency has given a clean chit on the ground of lack of prosecutable evidence.
Court allows prosecution to bring copies of missing statements
The special NIA court has on Monday allowed the prosecution to bring copies of missing statements of some witnesses and some missing confessional statements and lead evidence in support of the same as none of the missing files relating to Malegaon 2008 bomb blast case has been traced so far.
NIA had moved the plea to consider the photocopies of the statement of 13 witnesses and confessional statements of two accused as a part of secondary evidence three months back.
The missing documents include confessions of Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey alias Swami Amrutanand Devtirth and of Rakesh Dhawde, and statements of 11 witnesses recorded before a magistrate mostly connected with the conspiracy meetings held by the accused persons.
“The court has finally allowed our plea. We are now allowed to lead evidence in support of these statements to substantiate the same,” said special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal. NIA pleaded that since these statements were not traceable and the proceedings of the case were being conducted on day-to-day basis, the copies of the original statements and confessions be taken on record as secondary evidence.