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Impartial judicial monitoring of all terror investigations by the apex court the need of the hour

by Citizens for Justice and Peace, 3 November 2008

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Citizens For Justice and Peace

Monday November 3, At 3.30 pm Press Club Mumbai.

Mr. Javed Akhtar, Mr Mahesh Bhat, Mr Nandan Maluste, Mr. Anil Dharker, Mr. Javed Anand and Ms. Teesta Setalvad address the media.

Stop the Politicisation of Bomb Terror

CJP demands that the Central Government appoint a Sitting Three-Member Tribunal of Supreme Court Judges to oversee the Investigations into all Terror Related Crime Investigations. Only such a transparent process will help trace the tentacles of this hitherto unsuspected monster that threatens national security, public peace and harmony.

Recent developments have shown undue pressure and politicization of the law and order machinery into terror/blast investigations. Not only was there for the past several years, a blatantly selective demonization of the minorities when it comes to incidents of terror; recent developments have revealed, that various different political outfits are using violence and terror within Indian democracy to further narrow political ends. It is therefore imperative that

An Independent Judicial Scrutiny is a must for the following reasons:

1. Vagaries and Inconsistencies in the Investigation Processes are brought to the attention of the Tribunal, and public before the finality of a chargesheet being filed. The absence of such a non partisan judicial monitor has succeeded in limiting and influencing of the prosecution of the guilty and has, in fact therefore preventing the real guilty from being brought to book;

2. Gross abuse of political power and influence into the investigations are being similarly exposed holding ordinary Indian citizens, of each and all communities victims and hostages to terror. With outfits related to extreme and political outfits claiming to speak on behalf of Hinduism and Islam allegedly behind the attacks, the ordinary Hindu and Muslim is not just under threat but the national security of the country in grave danger.

3. Preliminary leads into the gruesome and tragic blasts that took over 68lives in Assam just recently alleged and suggest even a ULFA and HUJI link. This cynical use of bomb terror by communal, fanatic and extreme outfits of all hues requires that Independent Judicial Scrutiny is maintained of all investigations. Reports of the investigations into the recent 2008 Malegaon blasts have also suggested that there is a Bangladeshi angle with the interrogation of five members of Abhinav Bharat Sangathana (ABS), who allegedly hatched conspiracy and conducted the terror strike in Malegaon, stating that their group had links across the border, this time in Bangladesh. According to ATS sources, the ABS has around 5,000 members, around 20 of who are from Bangladesh. According to ATS sources, based on the interrogation of Kulkarni, they are on the lookout for two Bangladeshis who attended the Kolkata meeting of the ABS. "Kulkarni has revealed that they had conducted various meetings across the country and one such meeting was held at Kolkata," sources said, adding, "Two Bangladeshis had attended this meeting. These Bangladeshis are Hindus." Kulkarni is the chief promoter and campaigner of the ABS and was employed by serving Colonel S. Prasad Purohit. Kulkarni is a commerce graduate and his father is employees by the Mahrashtra state electricity board in Jalgaon. "Kulkarni was even paid Rs 5,000 as monthly salary by the ABS," sources said.

4. Issues like the dangerous leakages of explosive substances like RDX, Gelatine Sticks and Ammonium Nitrate – all substances that are governed, monitored and controlled strictly under different legislations are in fact being leaked out –even from the Indian Army and BSF control—and finding themselves into the market. This is truly dangerous for any society but especially so when a society is now subject to an assault from different outfits generating terror;

a) CC/CJP Monitor on Terror has monitored that though a leading national daily The Hindustan Times investigated and exposed on that after the seizure of 185 kg of RDX from a scrap dealer Shankar Shelke on September 2 (six days before the first Malegaon blast) he committed suicide and was found dead on September 10, 2006 after being absconding for a week. An employee of Shelke’s Shankar Gaikwad was absconding. Then ASP Mahesh Patil had told the national daily that calls were made by Shelke in fictitious names and that a new angle to these issues was how military ammunition is being stolen/leaked and being used and by whom; This case is languishing

b) The Times of India had reported how barely fifty miles from Mumbai, in the dense woods around Tansa Lake, anyone could buy gelatine sticks for just Rs 50 from tribals; This case is also languishing

c) After the 2008 Ahmedabad blasts the state government stated that the leak of gelatine sticks and explosives was from a Rajasthan Dholpur factory; the SP of that district admitted the leaks; thereafter the Maharashtra ATS also found that the gelatine sticks used in the Thane Panvel blasts were also from the same source.

d) The RDX and other explosives used in the September 29 Malegaon blasts that claimed five lives may have been pilfered from an Indian Army ammunition depot. This was revealed during the interrogation of the two retired army officers presently being questioned by the ATS, said top police sources, who refused to be named. It is not yet clear, however, as to which ammunition depot in the country it was pilfered from. Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor has neither confirmed nor denied the information. "People are still being questioned and these are matters of investigation," he said. (The Times of India, October 27, 2008)

5. Please refer to ‘Blast After Blast’ issue of Communalism Combat that exposes the role of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the Nanded 2006 Bomb Blast case and also analyses contradictions of the Gujarat blasts probe. Issues related to laxity in tracking information related to SIMI given by Maharashtra ATS and Madhya Pradesh STF, by the Gujarat police is stark. In July-August 2008, CC in its 15th anniversary issues raised issues related to training by military officers especially by Santkumar Bhate former militaryman. The ATS Maharashtra simply interrogated Bhate and let him off without arrest though he stated that he was actively involved in training in the use of violent explosives both Bajrang Dal members (115) at which training at the Bhonsla Military School was revealed. While CBI mentions Bhate as witness in its chargesheet the CBI, shockingly allows him to go scot free. Today with the issue of another former armyman Ramesh Upadhye and the questioning of Lt Colonel Prasad Purohit, the suggestion that the politicisation of sections of the army is taking place cannot be ignored. The issue of ideological screening of armymen and IB officials given the communalised face of terror is also critical.

6. Malegaon 2008 blast. Even before the recent revelations alleging involvement of certain outfits behind the blasts key questions raised are: the local police chowky near Bhiku Chowk where the blasts took place was informed at least three hours prior to the blast, by one hotel worker Iqbal Ahmed that an unidentified bike was standing there looking suspicious. Neither the Bhiku Chowk staff nor the police parol, including women stationed at Anjuman Chowk patrolled the area and examined the bike that finally exploded around 9.35 p.m. killing five people on the spot. Security had been lax for two days prior just as on September 8, 2006, the day of Shab-e-Barat, the security that had been tight until Ganpathy immersion was suddenly lifted by then SP Rajwardhan.

7. Information of the Modasa bike blasts also points two political pressure and influence trying to cover up the accused.

8. Recent investigations into the 7/11 blasts by the Mumbai Crime Branch (Times of India, October 15, 2008) reveal contradictions between the investigation under former Commissioner of Police, AN Roy in 2006 (chargesheet has already been filed) and the new leads being followed by Mumbai being followed by the Crime Branch that point to different culprits and a whole new list of accused. The serious contradictions are exposed in the earlier chargesheet filed by these agencies . These recently revealed contradictions underline the need for transparent and responsible scrutiny of terror related investigations given the sensitivity and aggressive politicisation of the incidents by different sides of the political class that also seeks to influence the police and the CBI.

9. CBI Cover Up of Nanded

The CBI Chargesheet into the Nanded Blasts of 2006 filed in 2008 completely covers up the role of the RSS/VHP/Bajrang Dal Maharashtra wide network that was training youth in the manufacture of explosives and bombs after indoctrinating them in hate propaganda against India’s Muslims. Despite the fact that the Maharashtra ATS had chargesheeted accused persons involved in the blasts of 2006 for dressing ’like Muslims’ and bursting bombs at the Mohammadiya Masjid in Parbhani (2003), Quadriya Masjid Jalna August 2004) and at the Meraj Ul Uloom Madrassa/Masjid in Purna in Parbhani (August 2004), the CBI’s chargesheet exmorates the accused and their organisations of any terror conspiracy.

10. The Maharashtra ATS investigations into the Thane Panvel blasts shows that members of the Sanatan Sanstha,, Hindu Jan Jagran Samiti and Gurukripa Pratishthan are involved and ironically,investigations reveal that Karan Singh of the Jammu Sangharsh Samiti and Swami Dharmesh are also members of the Sanathan Sanstha. Investigations also reveal that the Sanathan Sanstha publishes Santhan Prabhat, who’s editor has been indicted for fomenting communal violence. The publication is published from Goa, North Karnataka, Mumbai and Jammu.

11. Nanded-Parbhani-Purnea-Jalna Terror Link. 2007 Blast Case also being buried. (see Annexure to press note)

12. Our nationwide monitor has also revealed the following terror related incidents and investigation lacunae that have fallen off the public radar.

A) Mhow bomb blast that occured on 22.4.2002., at 6.00pm near the Swarg Mandir , Mhow. Complainant / victim was Mr. Chandmal agarwal. So far 4 accused have been arrested. The following have been arrested:
- 1) Shekhar choudary s/o Mangilal choudary , Mhow.
- 2) Satyanarayana, s/o PArameswar parmar, village Harsola, Kurda these 2 were arrested on 8-9-2003.
- 3) Mukesh Patidar s/o Jule lal Patidar, Mhow
- 4) Rajesh Misra s/o, Sital misra, Pithampur these 2 were arrested on 12-9-2003

All the above 4 persons were also arrested in Pyare Lal Ninama murder case. Manpur, dated 8-9-2003. in this pyare lal ninama murder case total 10 persons were arrested which includes the above four persons. The main conspirator behind these 2 cases was found to be one Sanjay Joshi. who was recently murdered in Dewas.

The Mhow bomb blast case of 2002 is still pending with CID Bhopal where as the murder case is under trial .

Similarly our team will be investigating the other blast related cases from Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat even before 2002 and will be releasing these investigations, periodically.

The Citizens for Justice and Peace through Communalism Combat has been, for over three years now been closely monitoring all blast investigations from statements revealed in the media through a team headed by Teesta Setalvad, secretary and co-editor, CC. This study that shall be on the internet by November 15, 2008 will raise logical and searching questions from the eye of the independent legal and human rights perspective. This will be information available for the public.

Javed Akhtar, Nandan Maluste, Anil Dharker, Mahesh Bhat, Javed Anand, Teesta Setalvad