May 16, 2016 5:45:40 am
THE NIA chargesheet in the 2008 Malegaon blasts may have rejected the Maharashtra ATS claim that the explosives were sourced by Lt Col Prasad Purohit, but it agrees that the explosives were “military grade RDX”. Such explosives can only be procured from the Army or a terror group.
The Maharashtra ATS drew this conclusion from forensic tests of swabs taken from the blast site. The NIA has not questioned this report.
In its chargesheet, however, the NIA is silent on the source of the explosives, which, it says, its probe could not establish due to the “time lag”. The Malegaon blasts probe was handed over to the NIA in 2011.
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But it has found flaws with the ATS’s claim that the explosives were procured by Col Purohit. The Maharashtra ATS had said that when Purohit was posted at the Army’s Deolali camp in Nashik in 2006, he went on an official assignment to Jammu and Kashmir and returned with 60 kilograms of RDX.
The NIA claims to have investigated this thoroughly, but found that there was no pilferage of RDX seized in any operation in Jammu and Kashmir. According to its chargesheet, all the seized RDX was either destroyed or given to the J&K Police.
“We spoke to various Army and police officers in Jammu and Kashmir and also checked all the records with regard to the haul. The entire consignment is accounted for,” said a senior NIA officer.
The NIA chargesheet is also silent on how the bombs were assembled and transported to Malegaon. It has disregarded the ATS’s claim that the bombs were assembled in the rented house of Sudhakar Chaturvedi in Deolali, stating that the evidence leading to this conclusion was fabricated.
It has also disregarded the statement of an accused, Dhan Singh, on how the IED-fitted LML bike belonging to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur was transported for lack of corroborative evidence.
During interrogation, Dhan Singh had told the NIA that on September 29, 2008, the day of the blasts, he had taken the IED-fitted bike from the house of suspect Ramesh Mahalkar to Ramchandra Kalsangra, from Indore to Sendhwa, on the instructions of Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange.
An official from the National Highways Authority of India who was examined said that in September 2008, there was no toll plaza between Indore and Sendhwa, so there was no way to verify Dhan Singh’s statement.
According to the NIA, a probe into the phones held by Dhan Singh did not “establish” any connection with any other accused. He had claimed that Kalsangra had called him twice on the cellphone he had given him. NIA says it probed all phone calls made and received on Dhan Singh’s numbers that day and found no call details of any known numbers of absconder Kalsangra. It says fresh call data records were sought from service providers, who said such old data was not available.
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