Updated: December 26, 2015 12:01:24 am
Responding to former Special Prosecutor Rohini Salian’s allegations that she was asked to “go soft” against the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case after the NDA came to power, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) told the Supreme Court Tuesday that all bail orders were obtained by the accused when Salian represented the NIA. The agency added that no accused was granted bail since June 2014 when Salian was allegedly asked to “go soft”.
Submitting its affidavit, the NIA claimed that Salian’s allegations in an interview to The Indian Express that she was asked by the NIA to “go soft” were “unwarranted and baseless.”
The NIA specifically countered Salian’s statement in the interview that court orders went in favour of the agency during her tenure as prosecutor. “It is worth mentioning that all bail orders in Malegaon blasts case have been obtained by the accused persons when the respondents was represented through Rohini Salian…that no bail has been granted by any court to any person arrested in the case since June 2014 when, as alleged by Salian, the ‘go soft’ message was passed on to her.”
The NIA has pointed out that of the 14 arrested accused, four were granted bail between 2011 and 2013 when Salian led the agency’s case in Bombay High Court. The agency was responding to two PILs—one has sought a direction for appointing a special prosecutor to conduct a fair trial and the other has sought constitution of a special investigating team of CBI to probe NIA officials who allegedly pressured Salian.
Refuting the allegations, the affidavit said that during June 2014, when Salian was allegedly asked to “go soft”, there was no pending matter of any importance before the trial court or Bombay High Court. “All the petitions were pending adjudication before this Honb’le Court till April 15, 2015…Salian was appointed as Special Public Prosecutor for the NIA only within Maharashtra and therefore, there was no way anyone within or outside NIA would have gained by asking her to go soft,” it added.
It contended that there was nothing to gain by trying to influence Salian since all matters related to the Malegaon blasts cases were pending before the top court during June 2014 and Salian was not among the lawyers appearing for the NIA in the Supreme Court. “This inconsistency proves the bonafide of answering respondent (NIA) and they have never compromised the independence of the Special Public Prosecutor,” said the affidavit.
About her de-notification as an empanelled prosecutor for the NIA, the affidavit said it was being done as per the policy, under which two other prosecutors were also proposed to be de-notified since they have completed five years. “It is evident that Salian is not being targeted and the recommendation… is in accordance with the process of law. It is relevant to note that the MHA is still examining the matter and a final view has not yet been taken,” it stated. The NIA has also said its investigation in the matter is in the “final stage” and it seeks to complete it in a time-frame of 60 to 90 days from now.
The Malegaon blast, on September 29, 2008, claimed four lives and injured 79 while another blast at the same time in Modasa in Gujarat killed one. Investigations pointed to alleged Hindu extremists based in Indore, as first reported by The Indian Express on October 23, 2010.
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