NIA pulled up by court for ‘suppression’ of documents on 2008 Malegaon blast case

New Delhi, December 16 (KMS): India’s notorious National Investigation Agency (NIA) has come under fire from a special court judge for “suppressing” documents by failing to present a crucial forensic report in the court for the past 13 years.

The case is related to a bomb blast in a motorbike on September 29, 2008, in Malegaon. Six people were killed while over a hundred were injured in the explosion.

Initially, the case was investigated by Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad. It was later handed over to the NIA for additional investigation later in April 2011.

The analysis of the voice samples of the accused in 2008 Malegaon bomb blast was recently made public when the court questioned the forensic expert who had performed the analysis.

In 2009, the Forensic Sciences Lab in Kalina received an audio tape of a conspiracy meeting that the ATS had found and forwarded there for processing. The analysis report was written by the forensic expert who was recently called as a witness in court. He did this while working at the lab. As per the analysis, the speech samples corresponded to Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey, and Prasad Purohit, the three defendants in the case. However, this analysis was not submitted by the ATS in court.

The forensic expert pleaded for the documents to be recorded when he was asked to testify last month, English newspaper The Hindu reported. The witness stated in his plea that he had written the report in 2009 and that he had quit his job the following year, the report added. He also claimed that he had just acquired the papers, which had been with the Kalina lab all along. NIA was in favour of the plea, while the defence attorneys were against it.

“The application moved by the witness does not suggest who was the custodian of those documents since 2010, when the witness left the job, or from whose custody those documents are brought, the mode and manner of receipt of those documents, why those documents are filed at belated stage, or what prevented him from handing those documents over to the investigating officer,” the special court noted in rejecting the plea to accept the documents. The application leaves all of these questions unanswered, and no justification for these items was provided.

“According to the witness, he just acquired the documents from FSL. The gathering of those documents and their putting on file after a period of time without any justification or clarification raises the suspicion that they were suppressed, the special judge noted.

The prosecution’s claim that the materials pertaining to the expert’s methodology and voice graphs were included in the report was refuted by the court as well. “If it had been a necessary component of the report, it would have been given to the investigative apparatus during the course of the investigation. However, it was actually not filed with the chargesheet or in accordance with section 173(8) of the Criminal Procedure Code (final report),” the court noted in refusing to enter these documents of analysis into the record.

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