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.

25 thoughts on “Malegaon blasts case: Too many loose ends

  1. Unfortunately with the advent of electronic broadcast medis, by which I refer to 24-hour TV news channels, genuine investigative stories or articles have become a thing of the past. The problem is that it is no longer a question of news but one of infotainment. The problem with the latter is that it requires sensationalisation of any andd every news item in order to keep an audience captive. The result? Stories like the one you have mentioned in your blog. The other huge issue is that it spawns a generation where they learn only to question. Often they question without reason or basis and seldom have the patience to listen to the answers that are forthcoming. This is evident in your own blog where you have raised doubts about whether the Maharashtra ATS has any real evidence linking the blasts to Pragya Singh Thakur or Lt. Col Purohit. Mind you, I am not commenting on whether they are guilty or not…that I believe is the task of the jury. As far as my individual opinion is concerned I would stick to the rule of law and say innocent untl proven guilty. But coming back to rational questioning, can you really see a serving IPS officer and his team arresting a serving armed forced officer, and the rank of Lt. Col at that, without sufficient evidence? Can you fathom what will happen to Hemant Karkare if the charges against Lt. Col Purohit are proved false, or worse, trumped up? How come no one has thought about that so far? Because you need to realise that all thoughts that are being aired or seen need to serve a purpose. Sorry to dispel myths, but even the media is not free from bias.

  2. I agree with you when you say genuine investigative stories or articles are missing in the mainstream media. But when you say that people have lost patience to listen to answers that are forthcoming, I would like to say we listened when security agencies blamed LeT for Samjhauta Express blasts. We listen when everytime there is a blast, it is linked to HuJI or LeT, or Indian Mujahideen, etc, etc.

    My blog, in no way, says that the Lt Col is innocent. I have mentioned that there are enough leads pointing towards the rightist extremism, but they were not followed after 2006 Nanded blasts. Why?

    We have seen what happened in Hyderabad where scores of Muslim youth were arrested after Mecca Masjid blasts. Investigating agencies gave statements about their involvement. Now, suddenly they have been released for want for evidence. The government has declared compensation for them. What would you say about that. There are a number of such instances relating to terror investigations.

    So, I believe the questions raised in blog are relevant and does not intend to serve any motive or any individual party. Everything is not black and white in such cases. I would want the investigating agencies to conclude their investigations and punish the guilty (not leak information). Let’s see how far they take this case. It so happened in 2006 that CBI watered down the chargesheet against the accused of Nanded blast. Time will tell what happens this time.

  3. I would like to add to the many contradictions of the investigating agencies. Just after the Jaipur blasts police claimed that it might be the handiwork of Huji and scores of Bangladeshi immigrants were hounded, and in that many Indian Bengalis were also made to bear the brunt of so called investigators. Later the police claimed that it was the hand of Indian Mujaheedin. we really need a complete overhauling of the intelligence apparatus so that innocent people are not made the scapegoat.

  4. Yes I agree. We may not doubt on investigation at least at this stage. But the way ONLY SOME PART OF INVESTIGATION is leaking out is under question mark.

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  6. There is a saying “BETTER LATE THAN NEVER”
    When the same Mumbai ATS arrested so many Muslim youths in connection with various bomb blasts they were not being accused of acting on behalf of UPA government, or of being incompetent, or to be more precise bad Hindus. But as soon as they arrest some right wing hindu terror group they become anti hindu, or congressy etc etc…..
    Not to forget that there is this same Congress in Delhi where recent Bomb blasts took place and infamous Batla house encounter took place, inspite of so much pressure from thier allies and Muslim community to order a probe into Batla house encounter they refused to order one. Why didnt the BJP then accused the congress of vote banking policy or going soft on terrorism.

    I think there is nothing wrong with the Mumbai ATS, but there is something definitely wrong with the BJP and the news media. They are so biased in thier reporting, the way they are reporting this issue, as if they are themselves being accused or being linked to terrorism. Sometimes I feel as if that some of these news channels are sleeper cell of RSS and thier allies….

  7. Dear Amir,

    The problem is not in the media. Infact, they are the ones who are bringing out the other side of the story, be it Jamia encounter or any other case. I would suggest you also read the Jamia encounter post that i had written earlier. The news media in India has always highlighted the truth, whatever it may be.

    The real problem lies with the political parties (Congress, BJP, Samajwadi, BSP, etc etc). They are the ones who are using the people of different communities as vote banks.

  8. Dear Amir,
    Agree with you that there’s nothing wrong with ATS, nothing to point finger towards it. But, BJP, has good reason to ‘protest’, and highlight. Terrorist could be of any religion, but it shocks the entire country to know that it may have links to BJP – RSS – VHP – Bajrang – etc. But, let’s face it; it happened earlier; killing of Gandhi, demolishing Babri Masjid, Burning of Christian preacher, Destroying number of churches, organising riots and killing of thousands of muslims and christians — they are one form or other of terrorism. And they are facts. Only, the weak laws of the country and misled sense of nationalism, and religion — makes the culprits go free.
    God is witnessing all these from above, He surely doesn’t approve of this. Not even if this is ‘to give ’em a lesson’. And Vivekanand would not have even dreamt of this.

  9. I have been watching American,Indian and Pakistani media for last few days. Sad thing is that seems like terrorists have achieved their target. Which was to drive a wedge between Pakistan and India and not only stop the peace process but reverse it. Here are some angles which I find very interesting. This event is def. deeper than what India is painting it as which is to blame Pakistan for a colossal intelligence failure on their part. Here are those angles

    1) One of the terrorists shown in the picture is wearing a saffron band. its pretty clear. Only people from Indian extremist parties (bajrang dal and RSS – wings of BJP) wear this band.

    2) the top cops killed in this event were investigating an Indian Army Officer named Lt. Colonel Prohit for blasts on Samjhota Express in which a few dozen Pakistanis were killed. India blamed it on Pakistan. But a few months ago Indian Intelligence revealed that they have some proof on Col. Prohit’s involvement and were investigating. The top cop Karkare was being threatened by BJP on this investigation and that is public knowledge as it was brought up in Indian media.

    3) The trawler that was captured off the mumbai coast had a dead body in it. The dead body is being identified as an Indian citizen who spent 6 months in jail in Pakistan (I dont know how he got there and when he was released)

    So now I am scratching my head as to who might be responsible. Is it elements internal to India (BJP, Bajrang Dal and RSS etc) or is someone in Pakistan. def. fishy.

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