On a plea challenging removal of special public prosecutor (SPP) in 2008 Malegaon blasts case, the Supreme Court has alleged the government was exerting pressure on her to “go soft” on the accused.
In this regard, a bench comprising justices J Chelameswar and AM Sapre asked the government and National Investigating Agency (NIA) to file their responses within one week.
The accused persons in the case include Lt Col SP Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.
Social activist Harsh Mander, who filed the public interest litigation, alleged that the NDA was interfering with the SPP by pressurising her. He said former SPP Rohini Salian had said an NIA officer had told her to go soft on the accused or she would be replaced. Salian is no longer on NIA’s panel of lawyers.
The PIL sought the SC’s intervention to ensure a free and fair trial as there were several reasons to fear the executive was trying to influence the judicial system.
It sought directions be given to the Union government to appoint an SPP for conducting a “fair” trial and to form a Special Investigating Team of CBI to probe the actions of NIA officials who allegedly pressured Salian.
The 4,000-page charge sheet had alleged that Malegaon was selected for the blasts because of Muslim population. It named Sadhvi Pragya, Lt Col Purohit and another accused, Swami Dayanand Pandey, as key conspirators.
The blast had occurred on September 29, 2008 leaving four dead and injuring 80 persons.