Malegaon, Samjautha blasts: A standstill as NIA yet to set up special court
We have no idea when the special court will be set up and unless the same is done, the matter will not progress, the counsel for several accused persons say.
All the persons accused in these cases will have to wait until the special court has been set up. The case has already dragged on since October 10 2010.
NIA needs to take it forward:
The cases in question are being handled by the National Investigating Agency. It is for the NIA director to set up the special court so that the matter can move forward. Counsel for Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the case tells OneIndia that the case has dragged on for too long now.
The accused persons were booked under the provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act or the MCOCA. All the accused persons had challenged the imposition of MCOCA before the Supreme Court on October 10 2010.
It was on April 16th 2015 that the matter was finally disposed off by a Bench of the Supreme Court. In its order the Supreme Court had said that barring one accused Rakesh Dawde, the provisions of MCOCA do not apply to the rest of the accused.
The Supreme Court had also told directed the Bombay High Court to constitute a special bench and dispose off the matter.
The High Court on its part has already recommended to the Director of the NIA to constitute a special court to hear the matter and complete the trial. The matter will move forward only once the special bench is constituted by the NIA and the trial commences after that.
Weak on evidence?
There appears to be a divided opinion within the NIA where the Samjautha and Malegaon cases are concerned. Some officers feel that the cases against Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Swami Aseemanand and Lt Colonel Purohit are weak on evidence.
Such cases are extremely difficult an NIA official informed. The case has seen many investigations prior to us taking over. A lot of evidence has gone missing over the years and to begin with we had to investigate a whole other angle.
At first when the NIA had taken over the case, it was the SIMI which was blamed for the attacks. However it was the late Hemanth Karkare, chief of the Maharashtra ATS who brought out a whole new angle and termed these incidents to be the handiwork of Hindus.
To add to the worries of the NIA is the fact that several witnesses are turning hostile. Most of them may not turn up before the courts to testify which makes the job of the NIA even more harder.
The NIA had largely relied on the confessional statement made by Swami Aseemanand. However he retracted the statement which has put the NIA in a spot of bother.
Accused will cite delay:
Several investigators say that the accused will commence arguments through their counsel once the special court is set up. The setting up of a special court is under process and will need to be cleared by the Home Ministry. Legal experts say that the case has dragged on for too long and this has done more harm than good for the NIA.
The accused persons are sure to cite the delay in completing the process. Unnecessary delays are not always condoned by the courts and the accused always end up having the benefit of the doubt. In addition to this the accused also got relief with the Supreme Court saying MCOCA cannot be applied on them.
Once the special court is set up then the accused will first move for bail. The counsel for the accused say that the delay on part of the NIA will be the biggest ground to seek bail before the special court.