Homeland Security

Investigations in Malegaon blasts go for a six!
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By B Raman
Issue Net Edition | Date : 16 Nov , 2011

The politicisation and communalisation of the investigation process since 2006 in terrorism-related cases has led to a paralysis of the investigation machinery in the States and the Government of India.

The result: Barring the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai which were successfully investigated and prosecuted, our investigating agencies have not been able to detect any of the post-26/11 terrorist strikes in Pune, Mumbai, Benares and New Delhi and they have not been able to successfully prosecute any of the major terrorist incidents that had taken place before 26/11.

The original charges of the ATS against  the arrested Muslims and the subsequent charges of the CBI and the NIA against the arrested Hindus relied largely on uncorroborated confessions. There was no scientific investigation”¦

The beneficiaries—the terrorists involved in these strikes, who continue to be at large, possibly planning more strikes. We do not even know who were the people involved in the post-26/11 terrorist incidents and whether the suspects who were arrested and prosecuted for their alleged role in the pre-26/11 incidents were really the perpetrators.

Nothing illustrates the confusion that prevails in our investigation machinery  more disturbingly than the confusion worse confounded in the case relating to the  September 8, 2006  blasts in the textile town of Malegaon in Maharashtra which killed 31 people, many of them Muslims.

The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra Police completed the investigation in record  time and filed a charge sheet on December 20, 2006, against nine  Muslims, who were accused of having links with  the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Pakistani Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET).

Despite the filing of the charge sheet, the Maharashtra Government handed over the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) following complaints regarding the investigation made by the ATS received from minority representatives and political parties.

The investigation has taken a different turn since then. It has been made out by the Central investigation agencies—initially by the CBI and later by the post-26/11  National Investigation Agency (NIA)— that the Malegaon blasts  of 2006 as well as some other terrorist strikes in Hyderabad, Malegaon (2008), Ajmer Sharif and on board the Samjotha Express were actually carried out by some Hindus who wanted to start a campaign of reprisal terrorism against Muslims for their role in jihadi terrorism.

In the case of the Hindus arrested  in connection with some cases of reprisal terrorism, the facts and circumstances are exactly the same as in the case of the nine Muslims arrested in connection with the Malegaon 2006 blasts”¦

The original charges of the ATS against  the arrested Muslims and the subsequent charges of the CBI and the NIA against the arrested Hindus relied largely on uncorroborated confessions. There was no scientific investigation with painstaking collection of circumstantial and forensic evidence either by the State Police or by the central agencies.

As it always happens in such cases, those who confessed subsequently retracted . In the absence of substantial circumstantial and forensic evidence to back up the charges, the Malegaon case of 2006 has been hanging in mid-air. There has been no scientific forward movement  in the investigation against either the arrested Muslims or Hindus. The result has been that neither the State Police nor the central investigation agencies have had the moral courage to admit that the investigations against the arrested Muslims by the State Police and against the arrested Hindus by the Central agencies have been very badly botched up and now there is no possibility of the truth being found out.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

B Raman

Former, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai & Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat. He is the author of The Kaoboys of R&AW, A Terrorist State as a Frontline Ally,  INTELLIGENCE, PAST, PRESENT & FUTUREMumbai 26/11: A Day of Infamy and Terrorism: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

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