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Islamic militants carried out Samjhauta, Malegaon blasts, says 2007 MHA note; no mention of ‘saffron terror’

a secret note of the Ministry of Home Affairs accessed by IndiaTV reveal that the stand taken by the NIA in court was not what the investigations had originally revealed.
India TV News Desk April 21, 2016 15:31 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: Contrary to the charges against Lt Col Prasad Purohit and others in the Malegaon blasts of 2006 and the Samjhauta Express blasts in 2007, a secret note of the Ministry of Home Affairs accessed by IndiaTV reveal that the stand taken by the NIA in court was not what the investigations had originally revealed.

According to the MHA note of 2007 that details the progress of investigations and prosecutions of major terror cases from 2005, there was sufficient evidence to indicate that the blasts at Malegaon and the Samjhauta Express were carried out by Islamic terrorists. Moreover, it had no mention of Hindu groups or ‘saffron terror’ as had been made out by politicians, particularly from the Congress, following the attack.

Eight people have been chargesheeted in connection with the Samjhauta blast - Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Asimanand, Late Sunil Joshi alias Sunilji, Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange (both absconding), Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan, Amit and Rajender Choudhary.

Four bomb blasts hit Malegaon on September 8, 2006, leaving 31 persons dead and 312 injured. Nine persons were arrested in relation with the case, while four others were absconding, the MHA note said.

“According to confessions, the accused persons belong to SIMI, a banned organisation. There were riots in Malegaon in 2001-02 in which Muslim community suffered and police allegedly acted against them, as per their confessions. The accused, therefore, conspired to take revenge from the police, government and the other community and decided to get weapons from abroad,” it read.

The note not only details groups involved in the attacks – SIMI, HuJI – it also names the individuals involved and the planning that went into its execution. As per the document, the occasion for these blasts was carefully chosen so as to incite communal riots in Malegaon.

“The two arrested accused namely Shabir Masiullah and Sheikh Mohd. Ali Alam Sheikh had been to Pakistan for weapons training in 2006,” it added.

The same note also makes similar observations regarding the blasts in the Attari Samjhauta Express on the interveing night of February 18 and 19, 2007. Two bogies were burnt, 68 passengers including nine Pakistani nationals died in the blasts.

“The evidence from the blasts site of Samjhauta Express led the police to Indore, MP, from where they also detained two persons from whom the terrorists had purchased the bags/covers in which the bombs were placed,” it reads.

Significantly, the note observes “certain similarities” between the Samjhauta Express blasts and the Mecca Masjid blasts on May 18, 2007. “…both used batteries of 6 volts and cast iron pipes,” the MHA note read. The CBI, investigating the case of the Mecca Masjid blast, reported that the SIM card found in the mobile phone used in the unexploded device was issued in West Bengal and were based on forged documents.

“It has been gathered that Mohd. Shahid @ Bilal, a resident of Hyderabad and LeT/JeM activist was behind the incident and that the explosive was placed by one Hamza @ Kanchan @ Sharifuddin, a Bangladeshi who is also wanted in a case by Delhi police,” the note adds, categorically naming the individuals involved and the groups they were affiliated to.

The Congress-ruled government in power at the Centre at the time had repeatedly blamed Hindu right wing groups for the attacks. However, the note clearly underlines that the attack was the handiwork of Bangladesh based militants.

“It is suspected by the local police that this blast is the handiwork of Bangladesh based Islamic militants with the help of some local elements,” the note reads.

NIA chief Sharad Kumar had yesterday said that Lieutenant Colonel Purohit was not involved in the Samjhauta express blast case, adding that no evidence was found against him. However, Purohit has been chargesheeted by ATS Mumba in Malegaon blasts in 2008 and the NIA was carrying out further investigations in the matter, he added.

Responding to the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) clean chit to Lt. Col. Purohit, an accused in the Samjhauta blast case, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday said, "The manner in which the Congress-led UPA government pressurised officers to get things done, which is not good. They should have not done it."

The minister further added that there was no pressure on the NIA to to give clean chit to any of the accused.  "There is no pressure from the government on NIA. All required procedures will be followed in sensitive cases," Rijiju told PTI.

The government has been facing criticism on social networking sites for allegedly putting pressure on NIA to take a U-turn in all such cases.

The minister criticised Congress for coining the word "saffron terror" and said this terminology was given by that party as it was "working with an agenda".