Suspended ATS cop claims witness, two accused were killed in fake encounter
Senior ATS cop Mehboob Mujawar also alleges the state ATS framed him into suspension on the basis of a fake statement from an arrested terrorist
Eight people were killed in the blast near Bhikku chowk in Malegaon on September 29, 2008. Earlier, on September 8, 2006, another series of blasts had rocked Malegaon, killing 37 and injuring over 120
Suspended in 2009 after he allegedly threatened a terrorist held by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS), Mehboob Mujawar, senior police inspector of the state ATS, has now alleged he was framed and suspended because he knew two accused in the Malegaon blasts case had died in police custody.
The prime accused, Sadhvi Pragya and Lt Col Prasad Purohit
The accused in question are bomb planters Ramchandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange, who are currently deemed absconding.
“The sole eyewitness Dilip Patidar and bomb planters Kalsangra and Dange were killed after being detained in November 2008. They were being brought to Mumbai from Indore after the detention of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur by five to six ATS officers, and they were killed in a fake encounter,” he told mid-day. Patidar has been ‘missing’ since 2008.
Mujawar told this reporter that he wasn’t an investigating officer in the Malegaon blasts case, but was given the responsibility to collect evidence in the matter. He also alleges he was framed by ATS officials on the basis of a fake statement from terrorist Ghulam Hussain Kasim Sahab Shaikh, arrested by ATS for making bombs. He added, “The ATS officials have framed me [by] taking a fake statement of Shaikh [who said] that I have threatened him in Solapur using a gun and telling him that I am an ATS officer and have powers to kill anyone. I was suspended in April 2009 and a case against my suspension is going on in court.”
Twists and turns
The case was initially investigated by the then Joint Commissioner of Mumbai (ATS) Hemant Karkare, who was killed during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. The ATS had arrested over a dozen people, including prime accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit. The duo had moved several applications before the HC and SC, challenging the chargesheet and the applicability of the stringent MCOCA in the case. The NIA, which took over the case in 2011, blamed the delay in investigations on the petitions filed by the accused.
In May this year, the NIA gave a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya and five others and watered down the case against the other accused. Shiv Narayan Kalsangra, Shyam Bhavarlal Sahu, Praveen Takkalki, Lokesh Sharma and Dhan Singh Choudhury are the other five against whom charges were dropped. The NIA has not given relief to one of the main accused, Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit, alleged financer of the blasts and founder of the right-wing extremist group, Abhinav Bharat. Purohit and nine others will now be tried for charges that include murder and conspiracy under the provisions of anti-terror law UAPA, IPC, Arms Act and Explosive Substances Act.
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