Maharashtra ATS’ probe into Malegaon 2008 blasts riddled with loopholes: NIA
NIA’s counsel Sandesh Patil told the court that though the “ATS’ theory of terrorism was correct, its probe wasn’t conducted properly. It was not coherent and thus, we (NIA) tried to fill those gaps when we took over the probe. We couldn’t accept the ATS’ probe report as it was.”mumbai Updated: Feb 17, 2017 00:53 IST
The National Investigating Agency (NIA) on Thursday told the Bombay high court that the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad’s (ATS) probe into the 2008 Malegaon blasts case was “incoherent” and “riddled with gaps or loopholes.”
NIA’s counsel Sandesh Patil told the court that though the “ATS’ theory of terrorism was correct, its probe wasn’t conducted properly. It was not coherent and thus, we (NIA) tried to fill those gaps when we took over the probe. We couldn’t accept the ATS’ probe report as it was.”
Advocate Patil was responding to the court’s query on the need to re-examine ATS’ witnesses when it took over the investigation on the Centre’s directive. He said that the NIA had re-examined 504 witnesses, of which 149 were new witnesses.
A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi had asked the NIA whether it conducted “a fresh investigation under the pretext of carrying out further probe” or not. As per law, only a high court or the apex court has the power to order a fresh investigation in a case before or after the charge sheet is filed and the central government can only order a more detailed probe into a case.
The court was hearing a plea filed by Shrikant Purohit, an accused in the case, challenging a lower court order rejecting his bail. Purohit has sought bail on the grounds that he has been in custody for eight years, and that the investigative agency did not secure proper sanction for prosecution under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Purohit argued that at the time of his arrest, the UAPA mandated that the investigative agency must secure a sanction from the central government and not the state government for the prosecution of an accused person under UAPA.
Patil, however, told the court that the state government was well within its powers to issue a sanction. He also argued that there was “no denying the fact that NIA had a sanction. However, whether or not it was from the appropriate authority, can be tested only at the time of trial and not at the time of bail.”
The NIA is likely to conclude its arguments in the case on Friday.