[Officers with sniffer dog inside Malegaon Hamidya Masjid to probe 2006 Malegaon blasts (ummid.com file photo)]
Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday in its affidavit filed in response to a Maharashtra ATS petition challenging the discharge of eight Muslim persons from the Malegaon 2006 blasts case rejected allegations of "bias" and said its findings were based on thorough probe.
In April this year, a sessions court had discharged the eight persons (accused by ATS and CBI) of all terror charges after the NIA submitted that a "Hindu Right Wing" organisation was behind the blasts.
The ATS approached HC claiming that the sessions court order was "illegal, unjust and goes against evidence on record". Its conclusion that "Muslims would not plant bombs inside a mosque was absolutely wrong, and had no legal basis," the ATS claimed.
In its affidavit, the NIA said it arrived at the conclusion that the blasts were carried out by Hindu group only after a thorough probe was carried out, according to PTI.
"It is not correct to say NIA conducted investigation in a pre-determined and calculated manner to negate the effects of earlier probe by ATS and CBI," the affidavit filed by NIA Superintendent of Police Vikram Khalate said.
The affidavit further said that as per NIA probe, Manohar Narwaria, Ranjendra Chaudhary, Dhan Singh Shiv Singh, Lokesh Sharma, Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sunil Joshi, Ramesh Mahalkar, Sandeep Dange and few others allegedly entered into criminal conspiracy between January and September 2006 to commit terrorist acts in Malegaon.
"Training camps were organised in Indore where bombs were prepared and then transported to Malegaon. Narwaria, Chaudhary, Singh and Kalsangra planted the bombs in Malegaon. They (accused) wanted to set off the bomb in a Muslim dominated area so that it would result in communal riots between Hindus and Muslims in Malegaon," the affidavit said.
The affidavit further relied on a statement of Swami Assemanand, accused in the Mecca Masjid blast, in which he has said the Malegaon blast was handiwork of "his boys".
The NIA in its affidavit also said that the ATS's claim that accused Mohammad Zahid Ansari had planted bomb in Malegaon on September 8, 2006 is wrong.
"It is revealed in NIA probe that on the day of the blast, Ansari was in Yavatmal, which is about 400 kms from the blast site. Twelve witnesses have supported this," it said.
It further claimed that Shabbir Batterywala, who according to ATS had supplied explosives, was in judicial custody from August to September 2006 after he was arrested by Crime Branch Mumbai.
A series of blasts inside Malegaon Bada Qabristan Mosque and another at Mushawerat Chowk on September 08, 2006 had killed more than 30 people. The serial blasts had also injured more than 300, including a large number of children.