Congress hid Pak link to Samjhauta blasts?

The Congress is slipping deeper and deeper into quicksand as it seeks to extricate itself from it. On Monday last, a leading TV channel scooped a video of the narco-analysis interrogation of Safdar Nagori, former Simi chief and terrorist, admitting on tape that the Samjhauta Express blasts of February 18, 2007 were carried out by those trained in Pakistan. The tape had apparently been deliberately kept under wraps for nine years because the erstwhile UPA government did not want it to come out. The Manmohan-Sonia dispensation  wanted people to believe the motivatedly-floated theory that Islamic terror had a parallel in ‘Hindu terror.’ There was therefore a concerted effort to show that the Samjhauta blasts were the handiwork of Hindu extremists, so as to malign the BJP indirectly. That the erstwhile government did a volte face on Pakistani link even though it lowered the credibility of India for having changed its stance was bad enough. If Nagori’s version is proved beyond doubt, the surmise would be inescapable that the Congress action in blaming it all on Hindu terror was a grave anti-national act for perpetrating which the culprits must be punished, however high and mighty they may have been. The moot question is why was the Nagori tape suppressed? That is what arouses deep suspicion.

In his narco-test Nagori clearly named Indore-based Simi operative Abdul Razzak, who was trained in Pakistan, as the person responsible for the explosions that killed 68 people on Samjhauta Express. A special NIA court, hearing the 2007 Samjhauta train bombing case, has agreed to Pakistan’s request for more time to produce 13 of its nationals as witnesses. India must pursue the matter relentlessly to get at the truth. A little over a month ago, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had pointed fingers at the shoddy investigations conducted under the UPA government and floating of the “Hindu terror” theory. He revealed how Pakistani suspects, who had allegedly planted bombs on the train, were let off without proper investigation. The law minister had hinted that the entire “Hindu terror” angle was planted, while the real terrorists from beyond the border went scot-free. “On whose orders were these Pakistani suspects released? Was there some suspicious move to change the nature of investigation because it was projected as Hindu terrorist movement?” he had asked. A sting operation by the leading news channel had shown how Pakistani citizens arrested by Indian authorities were discharged within 14 days even though they were suspects in one of the bloodiest terrorist attacks on Indian soil. The disclosure was made by Gurdeep Singh, who was the first investigating officer (IO) assigned to probe the Samjhauta blasts. Singh hinted at “directions from seniors” to discharge the suspects who had been described as “shrewd and deceiving.”

The Samjhauta investigations were characterized by flip-flops. To start with, the finger of suspicion pointed at a Pakistani hand with Lashkar e-Taiba the prime suspect. However, in November 2008, it was reported that Indian officials suspected the attacks were linked to Lt. Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit, an Indian army officer who was alleged to be a member of Hindu nationalist  group Abhinav Bharat. On 30 December 2010, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) claimed that they had solid evidence that Swami Aseemanand was the mastermind behind the blasts. He had roped in Sandeep Dange, an engineering graduate, and Ramji Kalsangra, an electrician, to build the improvised explosive devices used in the blasts. A new dimension has now been added to the blasts with Nagori’s confession on camera after being administered the ‘truth serum.’ Though a narco-test is not accepted as conclusive evidence in a court of law, it is nevertheless a pointer.

There is indeed a dire need to go to the root of the investigations. If the suspicion is that the NIA had been manipulated by the erstwhile Congress government to implicate Aseemanand and others in the Samjhauta blasts case to lend currency to the charge of ‘Hindu terror’, and likewise Lt. Colonel Purohit  in the Malegaon blasts case for the same reason, the plot must be unmasked and the guilty parties must be brought to book. The further investigation of the case, including the narco testimony of Nagori must be handed over to an independent agency other than NIA so that the truth is not covered up. That the NIA allowed itself to be manipulated, if true, is a serious matter for which its top brass at that time must be hauled up. Aseemanand was rotting in jail for several years and Lt. Col. Purohit is still in detention in other cases. The Home Minister during the time, Sushil Kumar Shinde, veteran Congress leader Digvijay Singh, P. Chidambaram, who served as Union Finance Minister and then also as Home Minister, among others, must be investigated thoroughly for their statements on Hindu terror. There is no justification for further procrastination.

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