CONGRESS SLAMS MODI, RAJNATH FOR NIA’S U-TURN IN MALEGAON BLAST CASE

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BJP president Rajnath Singh celebrates with Narendra Modi after the Gujarat chief minister was selected as the party's prime ministerial candidate.
TIME TO CELEBRATE? Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

DIGVIJAY SINGH SAYS PM AND HOME MINISTER ARE TRYING TO SAVE RSS MEMBERS INVOLVED IN TERROR ACTIVITIES

Agencies

MUMBAI — The Congress on Friday launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh after Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur got a clean chit in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, saying the NIA had been turned into ‘Namo (short for Narendra Modi) Investigation Agency’.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in its report said that ‘sufficient evidences’ had not been found against Pragya Singh Thakur and five others. The case, in which seven people were killed in twin blasts when people were coming out of prayers during Ramzan in September 29, 2008, was investigated initially by Joint Commissioner of Mumbai’s ATS Hemant Karkare who was killed during the 26/11 Mumbai attack.

“This is my accusation on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the Central Cabinet who are trying to save the people belonging to Sangh involved in terror activities by putting pressure on police officers and the NIA,” Congress leader Digvijay Singh said.

“I have been telling this from the very beginning that the people from the RSS and those influenced by its ideology are involved in terror activities,” he added.

Stating the chargesheet mentions that the investigation conducted by former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare was flawed, the Congress leader expressed his disappointment over the fact that even martyrs are under suspicion during the rule of the NDA regime.

“The person, who gave his life fighting for the glory of the nation, is now being framed as a person who tried to falsely implicate the accused,” he added.

Singh also said that the Center wants to protect the Malegaon convicts. “We also know that you have been in contacts with all who have been involved in the terror attack, but my appeal to the Center is please don’t accuse Hemnat Karkare of wrongly implicating the Malegaon convicts,” he added.

Training his guns at the Home Minister, Singh wondered whether this was the reason for extension given to the NIA director. “This a matter of pity that the National Investigative Agency, which was formed to probe matters of terrorism, is now saving the perpetrators involved in terrorism,” he said. “This is highly regrettable that Hemant Karkare’s deeds in the case is being criticized,” he added.

Meanwhile, minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju dismissed the allegations, saying government does not interfere in the investigation by the agencies. “We allow agencies to work independently,”

The Congress leader’s remark came after the NIA filed a chargesheet before the Mumbai Special Court in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blasts case.

The Malegaon 2008 blast case was a first case in which Hindu extremists, including Lt. Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur were chargesheeted in 2009 by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad.

Before the NIA took over the case in 2011, ATS had booked 16 people but filed charge sheets on January 20, 2009 and April 21, 2011 against 14 accused in a Mumbai court. Purohit and Pragya had moved several applications before Bombay High Court and Supreme Court challenging the charge sheet and applicability of stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the case.

Shiv Narayan Kalsangra, Shyam Bhavarlal Sahu, Praveen Takkalki, Lokesh Sharma and Dhan Singh Choudhury are the other five accused against whom charges have been dropped besides Sadhvi.

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