NIA asked me to go soft in Malegaon blast case: SPP Salian
Kicking up a controversy, the Special Public Prosecutor in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case in which some Hindu extremists are accused, on Thursday alleged that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had asked her to “go soft” on the accused after the Narendra Modi Government assumed power in May last year. “An NIA officer called me up and said he wanted to meet me. He then met me <g data-gr-id="33">some time</g> last year and asked me to go soft on the <g data-gr-id="34">accused</g> in this case,” claimed Rohini Salian, who is the SPP in the case.
She said the officer had apparently got instructions from higher-ups to convey this to her, Salian told reporters here.
“Again on June 12 this year, the same officer met me and conveyed orally that I was to be replaced by some other lawyer in this case. I told him to settle my bills and denotify me as a prosecutor in this case. However, till date, neither a notification has been issued about my replacement with some other lawyer nor my bills settled,” the prosecutor said.
Salian, however, declined to name the officer who met her.
The prosecutor said she had raised a dispute with NIA over her remuneration. While the NIA was ready to pay her fees on par with what CBI prosecutors get, Salian refused to accept this saying she should be paid more as done by the NIA in the past.
The 68-year-old lawyer said she had appeared for NIA in two cases. One was the fake currency case in which six accused have been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court. Their appeals are pending in the Bombay High Court. The other case is the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast.
In the 2008 Malegaon blast case, 12 persons, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit, were arrested. Of these 12, four are on bail. The NIA took over the case in 2011 and later three more accused were arrested. However, they were granted bail in the case by default as <g data-gr-id="30">charge</g> sheet was not filed against them.
Was there 'message from top' in Malegaon case: Congress
Congress on Thursday wondered if there was a message from "the top" to Rohini Salian to go soft in <g data-gr-id="54">Malegan</g> blast case as public prosecutor and alleged that BJP leadership had tried to "bargain" with then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "not to pursue cases against Hindu extremists". Demanding "removal" of Director General of NIA over the episode, the party also sought answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh over remarks of Salian, that she was under pressure from NIA to go soft in the case.