Malegaon blasts: Hemant Karkare investigation negated

Mumbai :  The NIA has essentially invalidated the initial investigation into the Malegaon blast case by the then chief of Maharashtra’s Anti-Terror Squad Hemant Karkare.

The ATS under Karkare had taken the lid off the hitherto unknown ‘saffron terrorists’. In its charge sheet the ATS had alleged that Lt Col Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya had met Swami Aseemanand — the main accused in the Samjhauta Express blast of 2007 — and plotted the Malegaon blasts case.

The NIA charge sheet, which also accuses the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad of torturing several of the witnesses, has ripped the reputation of Karkare, who was later killed battling the Lashkar e Taiba terrorists in Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

On Friday when the charges against the main accused were dropped, Congress leader Digvijay Singh hit out at the NIA and the BJP-led government for safeguarding “terrorists.’’ ‘‘They are saying that Karkare filed a wrong report. We know you want to safeguard them (the accused) and we also know you have links with those who are involved in terror activities. They should at least spare a martyr,” Singh added.

However, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju was equally categorical. “The law is taking its natural course. The investigators now have the freedom to investigate without pressure unlike during the previous regime.”

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