The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), three years after it took over the probe in the 2006 Malegaon blasts, has said that it does not have evidence against those arrested in the case. Public prosecutor D.N. Salvi informed the Bombay High Court (HC) on Monday that the CBI has not filed a chargesheet or report [before the special court] because it has no evidence.
The Bombay HC has asked the highest-ranking officer of the CBI and Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) to file an affidavit explaining their stand in two weeks.
Justice J.N. Patel remarked that the CBI was bound to file a report before the special court irrespective of whether it has evidence. “CBI is expected to file a report before the magistrate, or the special court, if they find no case is made out,” said Justice Patel.
The blast occurred in mosques in Malegaon’s main market area on September 8, 2006. Nine persons were arrested and five shown as absconding.
Public prosecutor Pandurang Pol said that the investigation was handed over to the CBI in December 2006 following public outcry. “Then we should release these accused on bail too. There is public outcry,” said Justice Patel. “Who cried? State is going to decide on public outcry or based on facts?”
The HC has asked the Maharashtra government to explain why the case was handed over to the CBI. Abrar Ahmed Sayyed (33), the sole approver in the case had turned hostile. Abrar had filed an affidavit, naming ATS officers who had induced him into “confessing”.
Three accused in the case — Noorulhudha Samsudoha, Shabbir Ahmad Masiullah and Mohammed Jahid Abdul Majeed Ansari — then approached the HC seeking that a Special Investigation Team be formed to probe Abrar’s retraction. The petition also prays that the accused should, meanwhile, be released on bail.
The petitioners’ advocate Amin Solkar argued on Monday that according to Abrar’s affidavit those arrested in the September 29, 2008 blast in Malegaon had also carried out the 2006 blasts.
“There are serious allegations against the investigating officers [then Superintendent of Police Rajvardhan and ATS chief K.P. Raghuvanshi] which need to be looked into,” said Solkar.
Solkar said the ATS filed the chargesheet a day after the government had handed over the probe to the CBI. Pol, however, maintained that the chargesheet was filed before the CBI took over the probe. The HC has asked the government to clarify this too.
The Supreme Court had stayed the trial early this year.