Malegaon blasts: Suspended cop’s claim makes defence seek fresh probe
A day after a suspended police inspector claimed that two wanted accused in 2008 Malegaon blasts were killed by ATS officials, defence lawyers for few accused in the case want fresh probe.
Mehboob Mujawar, a former officer of Maharashtra’s anti-terrorism squad, has claimed that two key accused — Ramchandra Kalsangre and Sandeep Dange, who are currently shown as wanted — were not missing but had, in fact, been killed by the ATS on November 26, 2008. Mujwar said the two were picked up with accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and were later gunned down in Mumbai.
After the details given by the officer, some of the defense lawyers asked for a fresh probe in the case. “The statement shows how agencies have dealt with the case. We now want chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to order a fresh probe,” said Prashant Maggu, lawyer for some of the accused in the case.
The NIA, which is currently investigating the case, is also for probing the claim. On Friday, the issue was also brought up to the notice of the special court hearing the 2008 blast case. Special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal said, “The accused on Friday brought the newspaper cuttings of the article and showed it to the court. The officer of National Investigation Agency, who was present in the court has assured the court that they would probe it and come up with its conclusion before the court.”
However, not all agree and another set of defence lawyers question the credibility of the statement saying that it is a fictitious theory. Lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar questioned the credibility and timing of Mujawar’s statement. “Mujawar’s theory seems fictitious as it lacks corroboration with facts. It could not have been possible that they were picked up with Sadhvi. If that was the case, Sadhvi would have raised the alarm. She is not the woman who would have not mentioned it,” Punalekar said. He also alleged that the two were also spotted after November 2008 on several occasions. “It is known to both the agencies that the two accused were on several occasions spotted and met people. They were roaming around openly until their name was disclosed in the investigation. The officer has some ulterior motives behind giving such a statement,” Punalekar added.
The case dates back to September 29, 2008 when an improvised explosive device (IED) hidden in a motorcycle blasted killing six people and injuring 101. The ATS had arrested several people including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, and Lt Col Prasad Srikant Purohit in this connection and filed a charge sheet against 14 people, including Kalsangre and Dange, who are listed as wanted.