2008 Malegaon bomb blast: Retired military officer supports claims of ATS planting evidence
Mumbai: Indirectly supporting the claim of Sudhakar Chaturvedi, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case that evidence was planted at his residence by Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officer, a retired military official on Saturday testified before the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court claiming that he had seen an ATS officer doing some suspicious activity at Chaturvedi’s residence
Mumbai: Indirectly supporting the claim of Sudhakar Chaturvedi, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case that evidence was planted at his residence by Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officer, a retired military official on Saturday testified before the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court claiming that he had seen an ATS officer doing some suspicious activity at Chaturvedi’s residence.
ATS claimed that the bomb was assembled at Chaturvedi’s residence and it had found traces of RDX at his residence. The NIA had, however, doubted the evidence collected in this regard.
The special court on Saturday recorded the testimony of a retired military officer who claimed that he had seen one ATS official doing suspicious activities at Chaturvedi’s residence, days before ATS allegedly found traces of RDX at his residence.
The military official said that on November 3, 2008, he had seen an ATS officer, Baghade, doing suspicious activities at Chaturvedi’s house. The witness said he had seen a bag in his hand and he was seen doing something on the floor.
The witness said the official had requested the witness to not reveal his visit to Chaturvedi’s house to anyone. The witness also claimed that he was also threatened with false implication by another official of ATS if he revealed Baghade’s visit to Chaturvedi’s residence. The official said that he had informed his superiors about this.
Chaturvedi, alleged to be a member of Abhinav Bharat, was accused of being a part of the conspiracy behind the September 2008 bomb blast at Malegaon. The ATS had alleged that he was present at all the conspiracy meetings allegedly held by the accused for the formation of the Central Hindu Government (Aryawart) against the Indian Government and put forth the idea of forming this Government in exile in Israel and Thailand.
The ATS, which probed the case initially, had alleged that the house of Chaturvedi was searched and one detonator and gunny bag were seized. The agency alleged that the samples on cotton swabs were taken from his house and as per the forensic reports, ATS claimed that explosive ingredients – RDX, Ammonium Nitrate radicals detected in the blast site at Malegaon - were similar to the samples seized from the house of accused Sudhakar Chaturvedi.
The NIA reviewed the evidence and also recorded the statements of relevant witnesses.
The NIA in its supplementary chargesheet said, “why API Bagde visited the house of Sudhakar Chaturvedi in absence of accused, witnesses and why he requested the witness not to tell anything about his presence at the house of Sudhakar Chaturvedi. It is pertinent to mention here that the ATS searched the house of Sudhakar Chaturvedi on 25/11/2008 from where they had taken the swab of RDX. This creates doubt on this recovery of swabs of RDX.”
The federal agency further said that “this brings to doubt the evidentiary value of the FSL Report indicating the presence of the traces of RDX in the swabs taken from the house of Sudhakar Chaturvedi during a search of his house. This recovery itself becomes suspect on the ground that the ATS Mumbai may have planted the RDX traces to implicate him and the other accused persons in the case.”