Malegaon blasts case: Too many loose ends

The investigations into the Malegaon blasts in Maharashtra is getting interesting with each passing day.

The news channels are full of stories related to the blasts and also whether Indian Army’s Lt Col Srikant Purohit and other accused had a role in blasts at Nanded (2006, 2007), Jalna (2004), Ajmer (2007), Samjhauta Express (2007).

However, two extremely peculiar trends can be observed in the coverage of India’s encounter with ‘Hindu terror’.

Firstly, all the stories are attributed to the so called “SOURCES”, which seems to suggest that information is being selectively leaked by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) to the media.

This raises the larger question that if the leaks are being offered by official sources, then why now and what do they aim to achieve?

  • There have been evidence of the involvement of right-wing activists in bomb blasts. Infact, there was enough evidence against some of right-wing elements who were interrogated after the 2006 Nanded blasts. The ATS even carried out narco-analysis tests of those arrested and had prepared a report. Why then was there no leak of information then and why no action was taken against these elements in 2006? The timing of these investigations and the pace with which selective information is being leaked suggests a political conspiracy at the highest levels of the UPA government.
  • Also, what the ATS is saying now is true, then it suggests that all the previous declarations about involvement of terror groups in Malegaon, Nanded, Thane, Samjhauta blasts were a result of shabby investigations. The investigating agencies declared after the Samjhauta blasts that they had leads suggesting the hand of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba in the act. Now suddenly the ATS has made a U-turn and declared that Lt Col Purohit had supplied the RDX used for the blast.
  • If Lt Col Purohit masterminded Samjhauta blasts, what intelligence inputs did India give Pakistan to act on in this case in the anti-terror mechanism meetings? The government kept saying they have shared the inputs with the Pakistan government.
  • The ATS had to seek the permission of the Army before interrogating and arresting Lt Col Purohit. But what is surprising now is the way in which the results of the narco-analysis of the army officer is being selectively leaked to the media. “Lt Col Purohit admits to his role in Samjhauta blasts during the narco tests,” was one of the headline being carried out by the news channels. Why is the defence ministry and Mr A K Antony silent even when sensitive information relating to its serving officer is being leaked to the media like this?
  • At the same time it is also quite difficult to digest the fact that a man who once trained them and who was a serving officer in the Army’s military intelligence would start spelling the beans so easily during the narco-analysis tests. The entire nation saw a similar drama of results of narco-analysis tests being leaked to the media during the investigation of Aarushi-Hemraj murder case. CBI, India’s premier investigating agency, did not come out with any evidence in the end. The case is in cold storage now.
  • There are also doubts over whether the ATS has any concrete evidence against the Sadhvi and the army officer apart from the remains of the bike used in the Malegaon blasts. A report in a leading English daily, while accessing the remand applications filed by the ATS in the court, pointed out that while tall claims were being made about the involvement blast accused, the agency does not have evidence to back it.

The Congress party has demanded setting up of a multi-disciplinary task force to conduct a thorough investigation into the leads thrown up by the Malegaon blasts case. The government should focus on carrying out sustained investigations from a central agency to find out the reach, resources and the strength of these terror elements. What happened after Nanded blasts should not be allowed to happen again. Playing politics will only harm the peace and unity of our country.