Launching its probe into suspected role of right-wing groups in
terror acts, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over
investigation of three blast cases -- Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif and
Malegaon -- in which the cadres of Abhinav Bharat are alleged to be
The cases were registered by the National Investigation Agency after
the CBI and Rajasthan Government gave their consent to the Union
Home Ministry for handing over the probe.
NIA officials said the three cases -- Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif and
Malegaon 2006 -- have been registered and others including Malegaon
2008 blast case, which actually brought the alleged role of Abhinav
Bharat on the forefront, would be registered later.
However, Madhya Pradesh Government has put a spanner in the efforts
of the Home Ministry to have a combined investigation of all cases
related to Hindu terror groups by refusing to hand over the murder
case of RSS activist Sunil Joshi, an accused in Samjhauta blast
case, to it.
The Centre had asked the Madhya Pradesh Government to handover the
probe of Joshi murder case to the NIA to which the state government
said that the investigations into the case had been completed and a
charge sheet filed in the court.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had told reporters earlier here
after presenting his monthly report that "...Sunil Joshi is not a
case to be transferred. That is a little more complicated... they
(NIA) have to apply in the court under different sections of the NIA
Act. They will apply to the court."
The Home Ministry issued notification in the three cases, where
right-wing terror groups' alleged involvement has surfaced, to be
investigated by the NIA, which is already probing the blast in
Samjhauta Express -- rail link between India and Pakistan -- in
which more than 65 people were killed.
A chargesheet has been filed in the Malegaon 2006 case by the ATS of
Mumbai Police in 2006 itself naming nine accused and had pinned the
blame on Lashker-e-Toiba and banned SIMI.
However, the confession of right-wing activist Swami Aseemanand
before a magistrate claiming that the blast in the power loom
township of Maharashtra was a handiwork of Hindu groups left the ATS
Following this, the CBI, which had remained silent on the Malegaon
probe for four years, had also formed a fresh team to re-investigate
There has been no headway in Mecca Masjid case while the Rajasthan
ATS had carried out pain-staking investigations in Ajmer blast case
and has arrested four people including Aseemanand.
On Madhya Pradesh's reluctance to hand over the Sunil Joshi probe to
the Centre, the Home Ministry has already sent a proposal to the Law
Ministry seeking its legal opinion in the wake of absence of a nod
from the BJP government in the state, official sources said.
Madhya Pradesh government has filed a charge sheet against certain
persons, including Sadhvi Praghya Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon
2008 case, in connection with the murder of Joshi, an accused in
Samjhauta Express blast case and three other cases.
The NIA Act empowers the Centre to unilaterally hand over any terror
case to the agency and does not require the state government's
consent. However, the Madhya Pradesh government contends that there
was no terror angle in the murder of Joshi.
Joshi was shot dead at Dewas, Madhya Pradesh, in December 2007.
Samjhauta blast accused Swami Aseemanand, who is currently in jail,
had in his confessional statement named Joshi as one of the key
conspirators in the right-wing extremist network.
NIA is already probing the February 2007 Samjhauta Express blast and
September 2008 Modasa blast cases.