New Delhi: In a development that may embarrass the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the central government, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed on Tuesday before the Supreme Court seeking a probe against the alleged “arbitrary actions of NIA officials and their political masters” in pressurizing and removing earlier public prosecutor Rohini Salian from Malegaon blast case of 2008.
The PIL filed by social activist Harsh Mander has also sought appointment of high standard Special Public Prosecutor for the 2008 Malegaon blasts case.
Mander alleged that under the directions of political masters, the NIA officials had pressurised Rohini Salian, erstwhile Special Public Prosecutor in the case, to “go soft” on the accused in the proceedings of Malegaon 2008 blasts that is blamed on Hindu extremists.
Mander said investigations had found that “Malegaon attacks and a series of other similar attacks on members of the Muslim community were carried out by fascist organizations which were given the label of ‘saffron terrorism’ by the media”.
“It emerged that the motto of these fascist organizations is to reclaim India from Muslims back to Hindus and to establish Hindutva as the potent force,” he said and requested the court to set up a special investigation team and monitor its probe into Salian’s allegations.
He also requested the court to “appoint an advocate of eminence and reputation having high standard of integrity as special public prosecutor (SPP) for conducting 2008 Malegaon blasts case trial” and register FIRs against NIA officials as well as political masters for instructing the SPP to “go slow” against the accused.
Mander said, “Due to many incidents in the past in India, as well as world over, the usual suspects of any terror attack have been assumed to belong to a particular religion and/or community. As a premier investigating agency, it falls upon the NIA to say and stand by the truth as it is.
“More so, in this present instance where questions are being raised about it not functioning impartially and as a channel of its political masters, it becomes imperative that the NIA dispel this notion of favouritism by not allowing terror to continue to thrive in this country only because it comes with a different face and colour.”
He said the impartiality and integrity of an SPP was vital to free and fair trial in every case. “As Salian had said in her interview, what is meant by ‘go slow’ was to ensure that there is no conviction through passive acceptance of unlawful developments. Such a course of action would erode the confidence of general public in the impartial administration of justice and, in turn, give a fillip to the perpetrators to now function as if they have the support of the state in committing acts of violence.”
Mander cited instances of 2G spectrum scam and coal scam cases where the SC had appointed special public prosecutors to keep the cases free from political influence .
The petition asserts that the disclosures made by Salian cannot be brushed aside and has to be viewed seriously. It asks the court to appoint an independent special public prosecutor of “impeccable standing and integrity” to replace Salian in the case.
“State interference in judicial processes violates the fundamental right to a free, fair and transparent trial. It is the state’s duty to protect its citizens from terror irrespective of where it originates from, the creed and/or religion of the perpetrators,” the petition contends, adding at another place, “The petition is intended to ensure that the public prosecutor in the said 2008 Malegaon blast case and several other cases registered and under trial in which the same group of persons are the accused, performs his or her duties free of any influence/control of Government or otherwise.”
The petition also seek investigation into Salian’s allegations by a court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Central Bureau of Investigation and to subsequently register First Information Report (FIR) against such officials found to have involved in “illegal and arbitrary” actions overcoming the process of established law.
Mander told TwoCircles.net that he was prompted to file the PIL because he was “worried about the signs of different arms of criminal justice system” vis-à-vis citizens concerned in view of the series of incidents “where Hindutva terror accused” are getting bail.
“The idea of public fairness is compromised,” he said and added, “the only prayer is that the Supreme Court should take investigation under its wings and ensure that the Constitution is upheld.”
The petition is due for hearing and but not presently listed at Supreme Court cases.