New Delhi: In the wake of the Modi government’s alleged ‘soft approach’ towards ‘saffron terror accused, a PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking to ensure fair and impartial trial of terror cases linked to right-wing Hindu groups. The petition, filed by noted social activist Harsh Mander, has accused the premier anti-terror agency National Investigation Agency (NIA) of going soft in terror cases related to Hindutva outfits.
It is to be noted that in reply to a written question by Asaduddin Owaisi of All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary told in Lok Sabha on Tuesday that the government will not oppose the grant of bail to Swami Aseemanand – prime accused in the Samjhauta Express blast case.
Earlier Special Public Prosecutor in the Malegaon blast case Rohini Salian had revealed in an interview that she was asked to “go soft” on accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, by the “new Government in Power”.
On behalf of petitioner Harsh Mander, the PIL was filed by former Additional Solicitor General of India Indira Jaising which draws the Supreme Court’s attention to the NIA’s efforts to exert “external pressure/influence” on Special Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian to “go soft” on the 11 accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case and “thereby trying to seriously compromise a free, fair and transparent trial.”
The petition, quoting Rohini Salian’s interview, said the “hallmark of the Special Public Prosecutor’s office i.e. its independence from government influence, has been severely compromised”. It sought the intervention of the apex court to ensure “that the trial is conducted in the most impartial and fair manner irrespective of the outcome…”
Advocate Indira Jaising argued that since the NIA took charge of the case under the orders of the Ministry of Home Affairs on April 13, 2011, it has not added any further evidence whatsoever in the Malegaon blast case or cases relating to other terror acts by organisations claiming to propagate the cause of Hindutva. This, despite the fact that the confession of Aseemanand refers to the involvement of Hindutva radical groups in the Samjhauta Express and Mecca Masjid blasts (both in 2007) and Malegaon blasts (2006).
In the petition, she raised the issue of the role of political pressure in delaying the trial of the Malegaon blast accused arguing that “subversion of judicial process and interference thereof by the state itself and / or through its agencies, defeats the fundamental right of free and fair trial.”
It also sought a court-monitored investigation into the case, and wanted a direction to the CBI for registering a case against NIA officials and “their political masters” on whose instructions they were “pressurising” Salian to go soft on the accused.
Meanwhile, the Modi government has come under sharp criticism from Muslim groups, and has been accused of failure to carry out investigations in all terror cases with which right-wing groups have been associated.
All Indian Milli council secretary general Dr Manzoor Alam said NIA’s decision of not opposing Swami Aseemanand bail plea is puzzling as he is a prime accused in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast. Dr Alam said the guilt of Aseemanand has been proved in all investigations done by different agencies. Accusing the government of applying selective justice in terror cases, Milli leader said those Muslim accused who were acquitted by courts, have been falsely framed in the terror cases, so it cannot be equated with Hindutva terror accused. He also asked the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of the development in the interest of justice.