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‘ATS, CBI pressured witnesses’

mumbai Updated: May 28, 2013 02:06 IST
Charul Shah
Charul Shah
Hindustan Times
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In its charge sheet in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has alleged that the key witnesses and the accused gave statements to the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under duress.

The agency has stated that the evidence collected by them was “inconsonant with the previous investigation.” The NIA has also mentioned instances where key witnesses listed by the ATS had retracted their statements, saying that they were given under pressure.

The charge sheet stated that one of the eyewitnesses had, on November 23, 2006, given a statement before the magistrate court that he had seen the bombs being made at Shabir Batterywala’s godown. Soon after, he went missing. The CBI, which took over the investigation later, said that it could not trace the said witness. The NIA has, in its chargesheet, stated that the said witness had filed an affidavit in the Allahabad court on January 16, 2007, retracting his statement.

In another instance, the ATS had claimed that it had lifted the soil sample from Batterywala’s godown to match it with the spots where the blasts occurred. The samples were collected in the presence of independent ‘panch’ witnesses, and the statements of these witnesses were also added to the charge sheet as C2 and C3. During the investigation, the NIA allegedly found that they were bogus entries made by the ATS, as the witnesses were not present during the sample collection.

The NIA has also recorded separate statement of accused Abrar Ahmad, who was made an approver on December 21, 2006. The charge sheet stated that Abrar had retracted his statement in April 18, 2009, claiming that he was under threat to give such a statement.

The charge sheet also mentioned that one of the accused, Jahid Ansari, who was alleged to be part of the conspiracy, was at Fulsawangi in Yawatmal, about 400 km away from Malegaon, when the blasts occurred.