In a sensational claim, a suspended Maharashtra ATS officer has told a Solapur court that two of the absconding accused in 2008 Malegaon blasts case are in fact dead but falsely shown as “alive” by high ranking police officers.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis described the allegation by Anti-Terrorism Squad’s(ATS) former senior inspector Mehmood Mujawar as “quite serious” and said the government will look into the matter.
The application filed in August before a magistrate court in Solapur claimed that Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra, who are among the accused in the Malegaon blasts case, are “no more”. The details of the application surfaced in public domain on Thursday. Notably, Mujawar was suspended after a case under Arms Act and criminal intimidation was filed against him in a Solapur court.
“Sandeep Dange and Ramji Kalsangra are in fact no more but are shown alive in Malegaon bomb blast case by high ranking police officers,” Mujawar alleged.
The application was filed in the court by Mujawar on August 19 this year seeking early disposal of the case under Arms Act registered against him. Mujawar, in his application, alleged that the case was filed against him as a conspiracy and was a pressure tactic as he wanted to reveal the truth about the “death” of Dange and Kalsangra.
When asked about Mujawar’s claim, former ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi rubbished it, saying, “I don’t even remember who this Mujawar is or if he was even part of the team that investigated the case.” “At least, in my tenure in ATS, nothing of this sort has happened,” Raghuvanshi said.
A retired police official, who has worked in the ATS, questioned Mujawar’s claim, asking as to why the allegation is being made now after eight years. “Who had stopped this official from revealing these important facts before? We must not believe these claims,” the official, requesting anonymity, said.
A bomb strapped to a motorcycle exploded in Malegaon on September 29, 2008, killing seven people and injuring around 100. “Although the allegations are quite serious, we will have to look into it because why since 2009 no action has been taken. The concerned person says that the letter was sent to DG(DGP) and still there is no action taken. So I think we need to verify whether what is stated in the letter is really true, whether it is really genuine. I think, as of now I can only say that we will have a serious look at the entire episode,” Fadnavis told reporters when asked to comment on the claim by Mujawar.
NCP spokesman Nawab Malik demanded a probe into the allegation.
According to the investigating agencies, the Malegaon blasts was carried out by right wing extremists and a total of 11 persons are presently in jail in the case, including Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.
The state ATS, which was initially probing the case, had charged the accused under various sections of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Indian Penal Code, Indian Explosives Act and the Arms Act. However, when the case was handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the agency filed a supplementary chargesheet by which charges under MCOCA were dropped on the ground that there wasn’t sufficient material.
The NIA chargesheet also dropped Sadhvi and five others from the list of the accused. Apart from Sadhvi, those given clean chit by NIA are Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyam Sahu, Praveen Takkalki, Lokesh Sharma and Dhan Singh.