The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has alleged that the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recorded the statements of key witnesses under duress and created bogus witnesses, in the 2006 Malegaon blast case.
In the chargesheet, the agency has stated that the evidence collected by the ATS and CBI was "inconsonance with previous investigation". The NIA has mentioned instances where key witnesses listed by the ATS had retracted their statements.
The chargesheet states that a star witness of ATS, who was an eye-witness to the preparation of bombs, had retracted his statement. The witness has told NIA that his statement was recorded under duress.
The chargesheet states that the witness had on November 23, 2006 given the statement before the magistrate court that he was a witness to the making of bombs at the godown of Shabir Batterywala.
Soon after, he went missing. It further states that the CBI, which took over the probe later, said it could not trace the said witness. The NIA chargesheet states that the said witness had filed an affidavit in Allahabad court on January 16, 2007 retracting his statement of November 2006.
In the second instance, ATS had claimed that it had lifted soil sample from Batterywala's godown where the bombs were allegedly prepared to match it with the soil from the spot where the blast took place.
The samples were collected in front of independent 'panch' witnesses. NIA found that they were bogus witnesses created by the ATS, who were never present when the soil was collected.