The Special Public Prosecutor in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case has said that over the past one year, she has been under pressure from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to go “soft” in the case since “the new government came to power," the Indian Express newspaper reported Thursday.
Rohini Salian claimed that NIA personnel had asked her to go easy on the Hindu extremists accused of carrying out the blasts which killed four Muslims during Ramzan that year.
She also alleged that on June 12, just before a hearing in the case, an NIA officer asked her not to appear and to send someone in her stead, saying that the orders had come from 'higher-ups'.
“A day before June 12, when the case came up again for regular hearing (in the trial court), the same officer who had come to my office came up to me and said there are instructions from higher-ups, someone else will appear instead of you. I said I was expecting this and, good, you have told me this, so please settle my bills…I also said that now they should now denotify me so that I can appear against the NIA in other matters — not this one — in the future. He must have conveyed it to the higher-ups and I am waiting for their action. I have not heard from anyone since then,” Salian told the newspaper.
“The meaning (of that message from the officer) is very clear — don’t get us favourable orders," she added.
She added that she wants to be relieved of her charge so that she can take up other cases, including against the NIA, if need be.
Muslims were initially suspected of engineering the blast -- which coincided with another one at the same time in Modasa in Gujarat, killing one -- but it was under Hemant Karkare of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) that investigations led to alleged Hindu extremists based in Indore. Karkare was killed in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that year. Following investigations, 12 persons were arrested in that case, four of whom are currently out on bail. Sadhvi Pragya and former armyman Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit are among the accused.
Salian said that the Supreme Court has now decreed that the case should be tried in a special court with a specially appointed judge to see to the matter. “So in a way it’s all back to square one,” she said.