Was Coerced to Frame Aseemanand: Bhadana of Abhinav Bharat
Records statement before a magistrate that’s admissible before court
New Delhi: A key witness in cases involving ‘right-wing extremists’ has alleged that he was ‘coerced’ to give a statement framing people, including Swami Aseemanand, in the Samjhauta Express blast case.
The man identified as Yashpal Bhadana, a member of Abhinav Bharat, recorded his statement before a magistrate under Section 164 CrPC in connection with the 2008 Malegaon case being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). A statement recorded before a magistrate is admissible before court unlike a confession before a police officer.
Bhadana’s testimony was recorded at the instance of NIA and may change the course of investigation in a clutch of cases, particularly the 2008 Male g aon blasts where Lt Colonel Srikant Prasad Purohit and Pragya Singh Thakur were arrested. According to gover nment sources, Bhadana not only retracted his earlier statementgiventoNIAbutalsosaidthat he was not present at the April 2008 meetinginBhopalwhere‘Bombka Badla bomb’ theory was propounded by Swami Aseemanand. When reached for a comment, an NIA spokesperson told ET: “The matter is before the court and it will not be correct to make any comment.”
NIA, which started the probe into 2006 Malegaon, 2007 Samjhauta Express, Ajmer blasts, Mecca Masjid blasts and 2008 Malegaon blast has earlier cited Aseemanand confession under Section 164 of CrPC to allege that the right-wing groups were involved in all blasts.
Aseemanand later retracted his statement and was also granted bail by the Punjab and Haryana
Bhadana’s testimony recorded at instance of NIA & may change course of investigation
high court. Head of RSS affiliated Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, he was arrested by the CBI in November 2010 and charge-sheeted by NIA in Samjhauta blast case at present under trail at a Panchkula court. Ninteen witnesses have turned hostile in the case.
Bhadana, a native of Haryana, had earlier told NIA that he was present at the meeting held at Hari Parvat, Faridabad, in January, 2008, which was attended by Colonel Purohit and Swami Dayanand Pandey, both accused in 2008 Malegaon blast. He had also said at the meet constitution of Abhinav Bharat and problems faced by Kashmiri Pandits in J&K too were discussed. The role of NIA in the cases had come under the scanner after special public prosecutor Rohini Salian alleged that she was asked to go ‘soft’ on the Malegaon blast case when the NDA government came to power. NIA had refuted the allegations.