A day after the 2006 Malegaon blast witness made a sensational claim that he was ‘threatened to frame’ Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and four other RSS leaders in the case, another accused has now alleged that there were efforts to establish a ‘Hindu terror’ narrative in the country, through the incident.
Making startling allegations against the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad that probed the Malegaon blast case, accused Ramesh Upadhyay claimed that he and other accused were taken into custody, tortured, and forced to confess by the ARS. After that, they were charged with various Sections of UAPA, even those that were not applicable, he said. Next, the ATS started gathering witnesses and torturing them. The ATS forced the witnesses to take names of RSS leaders like CM Yogi, Indresh Kumar, and so on.
“They were trying to frame Indresh Kumar because at that time he was spearheading the ‘Rashtriya Muslim Manch’ campaign to unite the Hindus and Muslims. They wanted to frame Yogi Adityanath because his organization ‘Hindu Yuva Wahini’ was working against Islami terror outfit of Ateeq Ahmed. Even Bhagwat was troubled by the investigating agency at that time in order to maintain enmity between the two communities. The Pakistani ISI was running ‘Operation Hindu’ to establish a saffron terror narrative. Some Indians involved in this conspiracy, including politicians and police officers,” Ramesh Upadhyay alleged.
He further noted that the 4-5 people who were arrested by the ATS have been acquitted by the court, indicating that they were innocent all along. Upadhyay however claimed that 7-8 Muslims who were arrested in the blast case, were freed by the ATS.
Notably, former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, currently facing multiple cases of extortion, was the Additional Commissioner of the ATS when it probed the Malegaon blast case.
ATS forced me to frame Yogi Adityanath: Malegaon Blast witness
On Tuesday, a witness in the 2008 Malegaon blast case claimed before a court that the then senior ATS officer Param Bir Singh and another officer threatened him to name Yogi Adityanath, and four other RSS leaders, including Indresh Kumar. He claimed that the ATS tortured him and detained him illegally.
“They forcefully picked me up from home, kept me illegally in ATS detention centers in Pune and Mumbai. My family was harassed and they threatened me to take 5 names of RSS leaders, else I would not be released till then. The five names included Yogi Adityanath, Swami Aseemanand, Indresh Kumar, Kakaji, and Deodharji.”
After his deposition, the court declared the witness hostile for making allegations against the ATS and denying that he made any statement before the anti-terror agency. As many as 220 witnesses have been examined in the case till now and 15 of them have turned hostile.
On September 29, 2008, six people were killed and over 100 injured when an explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Nashik’s Malegaon town, located about 200 km from Mumbai.
The accused in the case include Lok Sabha MP Pragya Singh Thakur, Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, Shudakar Diwedi, Major Ramesh Upadhyay (Retired), Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, and Sameer Kulkarni, all of whom are out on bail.
They are facing trial under provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code.