India

NIA Takes Over Probe Into Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Shrine, Malegaon Blast Cases

Tarique Anwar, BeyondHeadlines

New Delhi: In a latest development, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over investigation into the suspected role of right-wing groups in the three blasts occurred in Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, Ajmer shrine in Rajasthan and Malegaon in Maharashtra.

The cases were registered by the NIA after the CBI and the Rajasthan government gave their consent to the Union Home Ministry for handing over the probe.

The scene near the Charminar after a bomb went off at the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad on May 18, 2007. (Photo: The Hindu)

NIA officials said three cases — Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif and Malegaon 2006 — have been registered and other cases including Malegaon 2008 blast case, which brought out the alleged role of Abhinav Bharat, would be registered later.

However, the Madhya Pradesh government has put a spanner in the efforts of the Home Ministry to have a combined investigation of all cases related to Hindutva terror groups by refusing to hand over the murder case of RSS activist Sunil Joshi, an accused in Samjhauta blast case, to it. The State government had said that investigations into the case had been completed and a charge sheet filed in the court.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had told reporters earlier here after presenting his monthly report that “..Sunil Joshi is not a case to be transferred. That is a little more complicated…they (NIA) have to apply in the court under different sections of the NIA Act. They will apply to the court.”

The Home Ministry issued notification in the three cases, where right-wing terror groups’ alleged involvement has surfaced, to be investigated by the NIA. The agency is already probing the blast in Samjhauta Express in which more than 65 people were killed.

Mumbai police ATS had in 2006 filed a charge sheet in the Malegaon case, naming nine accused and pinned the blame on Lashker-e-Taiba and banned SIMI. However, the confession of right-wing activist Swami Aseemanand before a magistrate claiming that the blast in the power loom township of Maharashtra was a handiwork of Hindu groups left the ATS red faced.

Following this, the CBI, which had remained silent on the Malegaon probe for four years, had also formed a fresh team to re-investigate the case.

There has been no headway in Mecca Masjid case while the Rajasthan ATS had carried out investigations in Ajmer blast case and arrested four people including Aseemanand.

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