CBI team to camp in Malegaon; may question ATS officials
In the light of a confession by Swami Aseemanand, the CBI will re-examine all the evidence in the 2006 Malegaon blast case and has decided to depute a special team to the powerloom city to conduct a fresh probe in the case.
The CBI plans to examine the role of officials of Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad, which had chargesheeted nine people in the case, and re-visit their investigations into the case, official sources said.
35 people were killed in the blast that rocked the powerloom city of Malegaon in 2006.
The sources said that a team led by Joint Director Kandaswamy will be camping in this powerloom city and examine all the forensic evidence that had been collected by the ATS, which was led by the then Joint Commissioner K P Raghuvanshi and his Deputy Inspector General Subodh Jaiswal.
The arming mechanism of the three explosions were not identified by the ATS but it was quick enough in making the arrests and later filing charge sheet against nine people --Shabbir Ahmed Masiullah, Noorul Huda Samsudoha, Raees Ahmed Mansuri, Salman Farsi Aimi, Farogh Iqbal Magdumi, Mohammed Ali Shaikh, Asif Khan, Mohammed Abdul Ansari and Abrar Gulam Ahmed.
Right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat member Swami Assemanand, who was arrested by the CBI, has stated in his confessional statement before a magistrate that the Malegaon blast was masterminded by a Hindu group and that a boy arrested in the case had brought about a change in his heart which led to he spilling the beans.
The ATS had also filed a chargesheet in the case despite the Maharashtra government's decision to hand over the investigations to the CBI in December 2006. The ATS counsel had admitted before the Bombay High Court that it was not aware of the Government's decision of handing over the probe to the CBI.
The CBI, which remained silent on the issue, had also submitted a charge sheet in February last year during which the agency had put forward a taped conversation between Abrar and other conspirators.
Both the CBI and the ATS had failed in identifying the two persons who had planted the explosives on the fateful day.
However, an internal enquiry showed that the taped conversation was provided by one of the sources of the ATS to the CBI. The contents of the tape had been been questioned in the court by Abrar.
Abrar had alleged in his petition that he was made to speak on the phone to someone by the then Superintendent of Police (Rural) Rajvardhan, a 1997 batch IPS officer, who is now Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Special Branch.
The CBI is planning to examine Rajvardhan as well in connection with the case besides some other religious organisation in Malegaon.
CBI, earlier this month, had approached the special MCOCA court seeking permission for re-investigating the case in wake of "confession" statements made by Swami Aseemanand linking Hindu groups to terror acts.
Accepting CBI's arguments, special MCOCA Judge Yatin D Shinde granted the agency permission under section 173 (8) of Criminal Procedure Code to reinvestigate the case.
Assemanand, alias Jatin Chatterjee, had stated in his statement that his RSS' murdered worker Sunil Joshi and others were responsible for Malegaon 2006 blasts.
Four bombs planted in Malegaon, the communally-sensitive powerloom township had exploded on September 8. The day happened to be Shab-e-Baraat, considered auspicious among Muslims, when they assemble to pay respects to their dead kin.