New Delhi, Aug 11: Accusing the NDA government of trying to interfere with the functioning of the prosecutor in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case by exerting “pressure” on her to “go soft” on the accused, an activist today moved the Supreme Court seeking a fair trial “as the executive is attempting to influence the judicial system”. Also Read - UPSC Prelims: Will Aspirants Get an Extra Attempt? Check Central Govt's Decision
The PIL filed by Harsh Mander alleged that National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials had pressured erstwhile Special Public Prosecutor in the case Rohini Salian to “go soft” on the accused “presumably” under instructions from their “political masters”. The petition, filed through senior counsel Indira Jaising, has alleged that Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which is the controlling Ministry of NIA, “have been allegedly trying to influence/pressurize an honest Public Prosecutor to go soft on the accused persons”. Also Read - Sandalwood Drugs Case: Ragini Dwivedi Granted Bail by Supreme Court
The petitioner has sought the apex court’s intervention to ensure a fair trial as there were reasons to “credibly fear” that “executive is attempting to influence the judicial system to cave in to the pressure exerted by it in all matters, including affording protection to right wing extremists who sympathize with its ideology”. (ALSO READ: Shiv Sena’s Anil Sahebrao Kadam wins from Niphad, Congress retains Malegaon Central) Also Read - Supreme Court Sends Notice to Mirzapur Makers, Amazon Prime Video
Salian, who was SPP in the case, had recently stirred a controversy when she alleged an NIA officer had told her to “go soft” on the accused, a charge denied by the anti-terror agency. She also claimed the same officer had told her that she would be replaced. Salian is no longer on NIA’s panel of lawyers. “That the factual conspectus afore-stated goes a long way in showing that the government of the day has tried to interfere with the functioning of special public prosecutor, treating the post as if it is under the Government in utter disregard to the principle laid down by this Court…,” the PIL said.
It sought a direction to the Centre to appoint a SPP to conduct “fair” trial and constitute a Special Investigating Team of CBI to probe alleged actions of NIA officials who allegedly pressured Salian. The PIL said pressure exerted on Salian by NIA officials seriously compromised a fair and transparent trial in the case. “If there is credible reason to fear that public prosecutors are made to succumb to the wishes of their political masters, it is submitted that public faith in the entire edifice on which the free, fair and transparent trial is based would crumble,” it said.
Referring to Salian’s interview to media, the plea alleged that she had made “startling revelations” regarding “hidden hands allegedly nudging the judicial system to free the accused in the 2008 Malegaon case.”