In what could stir up a hornet’s nest, special public prosecutor in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, Rohini Salian, has claimed that she has been under pressure from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) since “the new government came to power” to go easy on Hindu extremists accused in the case.
Salian said: “Last year, I got a call from one of the officers of the NIA, asking to come over to speak to me. He didn’t want to talk over the phone. He came and said there is a message that I should go soft. I told him I will always support the cause of justice.”
On June 12, Salian alleged that just before a hearing in the case, the NIA officer said there were orders from ‘higher-ups’ that she should not appear for the State of Maharashtra and send someone else in her place. She, however, refused to reveal the details of the official.
“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,” said Salian.
“The meaning (of the message from the government) is very clear — don’t get us favourable orders. Unfavourable orders are invited — that goes against the society,” the 68-year-old added.
The 4,000-page chargesheet had alleged that Malegaon was selected as the blast target because of a sizeable Muslim population there. It named Pragya Thakur, Purohit and another accused, Swami Dayanand Pandey, as the key conspirators.
The chargesheet had further alleged it was Pandey who had instructed Purohit to arrange RDX, while Pragya owned the motorcycle which was used in the blast.
Ajay Rahirkar, another accused, allegedly organised funds for the terror act, while conspiracy meetings were held at Bhonsala Military School in Nasik.
Rakesh Dhawde, Ramesh Upadhyay, Shyamlal Sahu, Shivnarain Kalsangra, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Jagdish Mhatre and Sameer Kulkarni were the other accused.