A lot has been written and talked about the illegality of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur’s illegal detention and her ill-treatment by a person who is yet to be proven guilty. Forget guilty. Not even a charge sheet has been filed so far against him. Sadhvi’s issues – the horrendous torture, administration of Truth Serum that nearly finished her off. She even charged the ATS with torture and harassment but there has been no respite so far. Where the hell have women’s commissions and other human rights organisations that raise a hue and cry against minor issues at the drop of a hat, gone today?
What the world has failed to notice was that something has been bugging me for quite some time since 2008. That the Maharashtra ATS has been picking on Army Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit in connection with Malegaon Blast case in September 2008, a case as poignant and heart-rending as that of Sadhvi Pragya’s.
I happened to chance upon these letters written by Lt Col Purohit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh. To put it mildly, I was quite shocked.It has been a litany of lies and cover-up on the part of the establishment just to fix a few innocent – who cares even if it demoralises the Services.
He was supposedly taken in only on November 5, 2008. The fact is that he was under virtual detention since October 29, 2008. It has been proven in Court of Inquiry conducted by the Central Command of the Indian Army that Col Srivastava had illegally abducted & detained Lt Col Purohit (the Movement Order that said Lt Col to report to MI-20 in Delhi but was forced to board a flight to Mumbai). And in his own words, what followed was a nightmare that even a captured enemy would never be condemned to. Lt Col Purohit was subjected to 3rd Degree torture from October 29 to November 4, 2008 (this detention is nowhere on records, which makes it illegal, none of his family members were able to reach him). It is only on November 4 that he was formally recorded to be arrested.
It is not out of place to also highlight that Hemant Karkare the then Maharashtra ATS Chief was one among those who tortured Lt Col Purohit during the period of Police Custody from November 5, 2008, to November 19, 2008.
What makes things worse – during the entire period, even Army records show him missing (From October 29, 2008, to November 4, 2008). Despite Court of Inquiry establishing that the evidence (RDX, & Explosives) was planted by ATS personnel on 3rd November 2008 (Assistant Police Inspector Bhagde) in Sudhakar Chaturvedi’s residence in Deolali, Nasik (this is the central piece of evidence around which the entire case is woven). Bhagde was caught in the act by Army personnel as per their deposition in the Court of Inquiry. Shockingly it was on November 25, 2008, under a Panchnama that they claimed to have discovered this evidence. Incidentally, no one took cognizance of the findings by the Court of Inquiry whose records are official and inaccessible domain.
Here is an interesting tidbit – The same ATS and Maharashtra Police had invited Lt Col Purohit for training them on understanding SIMI and ISI’s modus operandi and help them plan Counter operations. Possibly it is during these operations in Kashmir and Maharashtra that Lt Col Purohit stumbled upon some inside information that may have exposed the nefarious activities of ATS. It is to cover up this fact that Lt Col is possibly implicated. Surprise of Surprises, the ATS even filed Official ISI/SIMI presentations as part of their Charge Sheet. For an Intelligence officer of our Armed forces, this is a huge Compromise of Safety. An officer who has served 9 out of 14 years away from his family, deserves much better than this.
What makes it even more painful – 9 accused of Malegaon blasts of 2006 that claimed 37 lives and maimed over 125 (yes all with Secular names) walk scot free because NIA chose to reject evidence filed by ATS and CBI.