The Congress has demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, on a direction of a special court in Mumbai to the National Investigation Agency that the evidences gathered by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad against Hindutva terrorist outfits should be taken in cognisance.

The court had criticised the NIA for not investigating the role of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case and for re-recording of statements of witnesses recorded earlier by the Maharashtra ATS. The court had also rejected the bail plea of Thakur.

“Ironically, in its charge sheet, the NIA had said there was no case made out against Sadhvi Pragya. Seven people were killed in the blast at Malegaon on September 29, 2008. Sadhvi Pragya was charged in 2009 by the ATS which said it was her motorcycle that was used to plant the bomb,” said Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza.

She said the court’s observation is a damning statement on the way the Malegaon blast case is being handled by the NIA.

“Earlier investigations done by the Maharashtra ATS under Martyred officer Hemant Karkare was rubbished by the NIA terming it ‘dubious’ and ‘questionable’. This clearly was an attempt to malign an officer of impeccable integrity. Some BJP functionaries also questioned Karkae,” Oza said.

Lawyers de-notified She said that in 2015, Rohini Salian, who was the Public Prosecutor in the Malegaon case, was de-notified from the panel of lawyers. “Was NIA under any pressure to play second fiddle to the BJP and its ministers? Are sensitive cases related to national security being deliberately manipulated to undermine law and justice? Who was behind the NIA officers who had contacted Rohini Salian, maligned Karkare, and played a dangerous game? Shouldn’t there be a probe in the case in the spirit of probity and justice,” Oza asked.

The party also demanded that the de-notification of specific lawyers from the NIA panel be probed thoroughly and prosecutors dropped deliberately be reinstated.

“Scathing remarks of the court establish the dubious role of NIA and we demand that the Chief of NIA should be immediately removed from his position. Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh should explain to the country who in their government is the ‘manipulative hand’ in this case and carrying out the miscarriage of justice,” she told reporters on Wednesday.