Communalising justice : The Tribune India

Communalising justice

A special public prosecutor has alleged that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is putting pressure on her to go soft on saffron extremists involved in the 2008 Malegaon blasts.



A special public prosecutor has alleged that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is putting pressure on her to go soft on saffron extremists involved in the 2008 Malegaon blasts. Though she did not name the officer who had contacted her, Rohini Salian's revelation has started a controversy. She says the probe has slowed down in the past one year, in other words since the Modi government assumed office. This is a serious charge and the Home Ministry will need to explain credibly. No government can be seen as biased in cases of terror. It is not the trial of an ordinary crime; it is a case of terror. If the allegation is found true, it would amount to contempt of court and communalisation of the justice system. Justice won't happen if prosecution is compromised. Either she should raise the issue with the trial court or the court should take suo motu notice of the development.

Though the NIA has denied her charges, the facts speak of its soft approach. After taking over the case in 2011 the NIA has filed no new charge-sheet. Of the 12 accused four got bail — three of them because the NIA did not file a charge-sheet within 180 days as required under the law nor did it seek any extension of time from the court. If the case still stands, it is because of the charge-sheet filed by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), the initial investigation agency.  

The suggestion that the NIA has attempted to give a communal touch to prosecution, with or without the knowledge of the Union Home Ministry, creates doubts not only about its own credibility but also about the fate of other cases of blast at Malegaon (2006), Ajmer Sharif (2007), Hyderabad (2007) and Samjhauta Express  (2007) in which the saffron hand is suspected. Even if acquittals in these cases happen on merit, these would become suspect. If Aseemanand gets acquitted in the Samjhauta blast case, the Indian case for the prosecution of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi would weaken. The NIA has to salvage its reputation by ensuring that the accused, who include Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, are brought to justice. 

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