Malegaon blasts: Why I think ATS planted RDX in Prasad Purohit’s house

It hints of political pressure to defame the Hindu organisations ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections?

 |  4-minute read |   14-05-2016
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The National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) charge that the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had planted RDX in Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit’s flat at Deolali near Nashik to implicate him in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts case has raised a question mark on the ATS’ credibility.

The NIA has only authorised the claim by Purohit and his family that he had been wrongly implicated for knowing too much about the anti-national activities. One cannot forget that Purohit was leading the military intelligence wing whose main task was to infiltrate into the camps of anti-national elements and get first-hand information on their activities.

This is the second time that the NIA has termed as fudged an investigation conducted by the ATS in the Malegaon bomb blasts case. Earlier, the NIA had decided not to press charges against nine youths from Malegaon whom the ATS had arrested as main suspects.

Also read: Malegaon blast accused’s wife on why she’s still proud of him

So the moot question is, why did the ATS plant RDX in Purohit’s flat. He was the same person who had trained the ATS officers in handling the explosives. Was the ATS working under political pressure to defame the Hindu organisations ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections? Did the ATS do a mistake in reading the scene? Or was it a result of sabotage or jealousy?

pragya_051316103155.jpg The ATS did another blunder on Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.  

Hours before he was killed by Pakistani terrorists on the night of November 26, 2008, the then ATS chief Hemant Karkare had called on the then Maharashtra home minister RR Patil and requested a transfer to some other department as he was not being able to handle the pressure. It was clear that he was talking about the political pressure while handling investigation into the Malegaon case.

The ATS has charged Purohit of providing RDX for the blasts. Seven Army officers, five of them seniors, had deposed in the court that Purohit had recovered 70kg of RDX from the militants during his posting in Kashmir. The entire RDX was destroyed. There was no scope that Purohit could have taken some RDX with him.

Also read: Free NIA. It's become a 'caged parrot' like CBI

The ATS claimed that Purohit was one of the founders of Abhinav Bharat, an organisation involved in the blasts. He showed himself as a farmer and not a military officer. The ATS did not consider a simple logic: why would a serving Army officer, who is on a secret undercover mission of infiltrating into an organisation, reveal his real identity? On a number of occasions, Purohit wore a skull cap and mixed with the local Muslims to extract information from them on the feelings among the community. Does that make him a Muslim?

The ATS did another blunder on Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. It called her a conspirator because her bike was used in the blasts for planting bombs. Pragya had sold her bike to Ramchandra Kalsangra two years prior to the blasts. It was Kalsangra who used, maintained and repaired the bike. The ATS was relying on a witness Yashpal Bandana’s statement that Pragya was present at the meeting where the conspiracy of the blast was hatched. The NIA found that Yashpal himself was not present at any such meeting. His claim on Pragya was found fabricated. Later, he confessed that he had named Pragya under pressure.

Now that Pragya has been cleared of terrorism charges, will senior police officer Paramveer Singh, who had allegedly tortured her, face consequences? Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had demanded action against Singh when he was in opposition. However, after becoming the state’s chief minister, Fadnavis promoted Singh and appointed him to a prominent position - commissioner of Thane, on the outskirts of Mumbai.

Pragya’s brother-in-law Bhagwan Jha said the government had insulted her by calling her a face of Hindu terrorism. “How will they compensate her for that? I demand the government to compensate for outraging a woman’s modesty, humiliation of a sadhvi and an insult to saffron clothes,” says Jha, who had lost his teaching job because of the “stigma”.

The probe has established that the ATS not only planted RDX in Purohit's house but also tried to demolish the morale of military intelligence officers. Why the ATS do that? Four people had a concrete answer to that. Two of them, Karkare and Patil are no more. The remaining two, former Union home ministers, Shivraj Patil and P Chidambaram, should come forward and reveal the truth now. It is their moral responsibility.

Writer

Kiran Tare Kiran Tare @kirantare

The writer is senior associate editor, India Today.

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