Fourteen years since the Malegaon blast which claimed the life of six people and injured 100 others, the probe that was subsequently conducted by the Maharashtra ATS and later taken over by the NIA is in tatters. On Thursday, Republic after its exclusive SIT probe revealed that a series of narco tests had been conducted on the accused in the case, including Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, who was released on bail by the Supreme Court in 2017 after spending 9 years in jail.
However, the accused persons who have made pleas to the court to seek access to the Narco test results in order to defend themselves have not been given this access as the reports were never relied upon. The same was confirmed by one of the accused, Retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay.
In an exclusive conversation with Republic on Friday, Upadhyay said, "Our narco analysis test was conducted by the ATS in FSL in Mumbai. After a few days, they took us again to FSL in Bengaluru and conducted another test. It simply means that in the first narco analysis, we had been found to be innocent, and they wanted to somehow implicate us and that is why took us to Bengaluru where one doctor Malini conducted the tests."
After that, I tried and filed pleas to get the copy of the CDs and written reports from both agencies. Under RTI, they refused, We went to the court, and the court refused. We then went to the High Court, in the court, the ATS gave a plea saying they did not rely on the test."
Underlining that he somehow managed to get the report from FSL, Mumbai, Upadhyay said, "That was the first test that had been conducted on myself, Sameer Kulkarni, and subsequently on Sudhakar Chaturvedi. These three reports I was able to get. Once I got these reports, I filed this in the Hon'ble Sessions Court and requested them to take them on record and reach the truth because the government was not relying upon it."
"Rohini Salyan was the SPP, she said she had received the copy of the narco analysis test. It is with her and it may be filed subsequently. They had not filed till then and she also said that they are not relying upon it," he further said, adding how due to 'political or any other pressure', they were kept in jail for 9 years and their lives were 'destroyed'.
Six people were killed and 100 others injured when a bomb strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon town of Nashik district on September 29, 2008.
The accused were charged under Sections 16 (committing the terrorist act) and 18 (conspiring to commit terrorist act) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. They have also been charged under Sections 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 153 (a) (promoting enmity between two religious groups) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant provisions of the Explosive Substances Act.
On November 5, a former Army personnel became the 29th witness to turn hostile in the special NIA court hearing the 2008 Malegaon blast case.