A blast occurred near a mosque in Malegaon, Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008, that killed six people and left 100 others injured. The trial in the case is ongoing before the special NIA court. In a shocking turn of events in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, a prosecution witness reportedly revealed that he was harassed to give a statement to the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad.
ATS tortured and asked to implicate Yogi, says witness
A witness in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, in a shocking revelation, told the court that he was threatened by senior Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) officer Param Bir Singh and deputy commissioner of police, to implicate Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and four Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders, including Swami Aseemanand and Indresh Kumar.
The witness stated, “They told me our story is ready you just have to take names of people we tell you. They had even threatened me, if I don’t take the names, will have to face consequences. They had detained me for several days.”
In an interview with Republic TV, one of the accused Sameer Kulkarni said, “Today, a prosecution witness whose statement had been recorded by the ATS under Section 161 of the CrPC turned hostile. He said in the court that ‘ATS forcefully picked me up from home, kept me illegally in ATS detention centres in Pune and Mumbai and was harassed. My family was harassed and they were threatening and pressurizing me for many days that if I don’t take 5 names of RSS leaders, I will not be released till then and you will face the same fate as the other accused. We will destroy your life and do something with your wife. And we will not leave you till you take names of 5 RSS members’. He took these 5 names which included Yogi Adityanath, Swami Aseemanand, Indresh Kumar, Kakaji and Deodharji.”
Malegaon blast case, 2008
An explosive device strapped on a motorcycle busted near a mosque in Nashik’s Malegaon town, located about 200 km from Mumbai. The accused in the case includes Lok Sabha member Pragya Thakur, lieutenant colonel Prasad Purohit, Sudhakar Dwivedi, Major (retired) Ramesh Upadhyay, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, and Sameer Kulkarni, who are currently out on bail. The trial in the case began on November 2, 2018, and the prosecution has submitted a list of around 286 witnesses that include doctors, police officials, forensic experts and witnesses. So far, 208 witnesses have deposed in the case, and 13 witnesses have turned hostile.
On October 30, 2018, the charges against all the seven accused were framed by the court for terror activities, criminal conspiracy and murder. The accused face trial under sections of the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Hemant Karkare’s involvement in the case
Hemant Karkare was a favourite of the then UPA government. For all high-voltage political cases, and ones that served the purpose of the Congress government, Karkare was the man who was roped in. In 2008, the focus was on the Malegaon bomb blast, in which the Congress tried to spin a false narrative of Hindu terror engulfing India.
Read more: HemantKarkare – The man who knew too much
Here too, Karkare was the man doing Congress’ petty job, as he arrested Pragya Thakur, Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, Shankaracharya Swami Dayanand Pandey and some Abhinav Bharat members for allegedly conspiring and planting an RDX bomb and executing the blast that killed six.
Hemant Karkare was accused of arresting individuals without evidence and torturing them in custody in the most horrifying ways. He was an asset for the Congress party, but if he chose to turn against them, the man would become one of UPA’s biggest liabilities, which could bring the then government to its knees. Hemant Karkare seems to have had turned into a spent force for Congress, and his death in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks may have come as a sigh of relief for people in the top echelons of the government back then.