We have not tortured any of the accused: ATS

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New Delhi, Nov 21: Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare says the arrests of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a Hindu spiritual leader, and Lt Col Srikant Prasad Purohit and their interrogation has given the ATS enough proof to convict those accused of being involved in the Malegaon blast. Those arrested have also alleged that the ATS has been torturing them. In an interview to CNN IBN, ATS chief Hemant Karkare said that his team has been successful in gathering the required evidence to convict the accused.

"The process of investigation is on and we are gathering evidence. I am quite satisfied that my team is collecting as much evidence as possible and it will be presented to the court at the time of trial." When asked on what basis was the MCOCA applicable in this case, he replied, "As the evidence was unfolding in the present case, we found that the relevant sections of MCOCA Section 3 and its some subsections are applicable in this case. That is why it has been applied. It is not a question of expediency, it is a question of law and it is the question of evidence."

When asked about the political intervention, Hemant replied, "I would like to repeat that there is absolutely no pressure from any quarter on my team of investigators. We are doing a completely professional job and we are proceeding with each step after the evidence available is evaluated, corroborated to some extent. Only then the next steps are taken." Regarding the torturing of Malegaon blasts' accused, he said "I am perfectly clear that we have not used any illegal means of interrogation. It is perfectly respecting the legal processes, the human rights. I would just like to add that few of these complaints have been sent to the court and we would be submitting our report to the court. The matter is subjudice."

Asked whether the arrests were made on the leads gathered, he said, "We are conducting investigation only based on the leads which we have. Not only just the leads, the leads which are verified and corroborated. Only based on such leads, we are proceeding with the investigation. It is certainly not any fishing expedition." Regarding further arrests, he said, "Well, it depends on the evidence which is being unfolded. As the evidence make available, we may arrest, if required, more accused."

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