On the day a special court in Panchkula acquitted all four accused in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blasts, former IPS officer Vikash Narain Rai, who had cracked the case, on Wednesday questioned the NIA’s “complicity” and said the prosecuting agency should be “held accountable on how these acquittals took place”.
Rai, a 1977-batch IPS whose team traced the bag used in the blasts to a market in Indore, said the acquittals were “bound to happen, as the entire prosecution was trying to bury the case”.
Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone, the former director-general of law and order, Haryana Police, questioned NIA’s handling of probe into similar cases such as the 2007 Ajmer shrine, Mecca Masjid, and Malegaon blasts. “All these cases are interlinked, done by the same group of people,” he maintained.
Rai said a public prosecutor in Malegaon case has given a statement, saying she was being pressured by the NIA to go soft in these cases. He was referring to senior public prosecutor Rohini Salian’s interview to The Indian Express in 2015, in which she said she was asked to “go soft” in the Malegaon case. Salian was later dropped as prosecutor from the case. The NIA subsequently filed what was seen as a watered-down chargesheet against the suspects and dropped charges under MCOCA.
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While maintaining that he has not gone through the Samjhauta case order, Rai said, “The agency (NIA) should be held accountable as how these acquittals (in Mecca Masjid, Ajmer and Samjhauta) happened. Whatever evidence they (NIA) collected and witnesses’ statements against the accused, clearly the evidence and witnesses did not stand up in court and support their (NIA’s) story.” He also said, “If you (NIA) had any different set of evidence at your disposal, you should have brought it to the court’s notice. I don’t think that has been done. It all shows the agency’s (NIA’s) complicity. They have clearly botched up their investigations. If you are not going for appeal (against acquittals), it means you are not sure about your own case. And if you are not sure about your own case, then why are you (NIA) not filing a supplementary chargesheet?”
He said, “It is the agency (NIA) which is responsible for prosecution. The case has gone for years. There has been no change in the stand of the investigating agency. They (NIA) still maintain that those (arrested and charged) are accused and the NIA has not changed their line of investigations even after the government changed and (the agency’s) director-general changed.