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Infamous for his controversial remarks, the Congress general secretary alleges that the NIA chief was being given extensions by the Modi government to ensure that all RSS-affiliated men accused in terror attacks are acquitted

Being increasingly sidelined by his own party, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh is back to doing what he is best at – stirring up controversies with his comments on micro-blogging website Twitter.

On Monday, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister who has often embarrassed his party with his unsubstantiated allegations against the BJP or even public officials and their role in either spreading or shielding ‘Hindu terror’, trained his guns at National Investigation Agency (NIA) chief SK Sinha.

Soon after the Supreme Court announced bail for Malegaon blasts accused Lieutenant Colonal Shrikant Purohit on Monday morning, Singh alleged that while the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre was “protecting all the accused connected with RSS in all bomb blast cases (sic)”, the NIA chief was now set to win a suitable post-retirement position.

Singh comments against the NIA chief came in light of the Supreme Court accepting Purohit’s application for bail after his lawyer, Harish Salve, argued before a two-judge Bench of Justices RK Agrawal and AM Sapre that: “Lieutenant Colonel Purohit was caught in a political crossfire and was falsely implicated in the case”. Senior advocate Salve had told the Bench that his client – who had been in jail for the past nine years for his alleged role in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case – “did not want to be discharged from the case at present, but for the interest of justice, wanted an interim bail”.

The NIA, Salve claimed, had filed a new chargesheet in the case which contradicts the agency’s claims made in its earlier chargesheets. The critical issue, according to Salve, was that the NIA, after it filed the supplementary chargesheet, had noticed the discrepancies in chargesheet filed by the Anti-terrorism Squad on two key issues – first , people who had given statements in the case had retracted their statements saying they were forced to give them, and thereafter, there was a serious question on recovery of RDX from the premises of Purohit.

Salve had also argued that even if charges were framed against Purohit, the maximum penalty that he was liable for is seven years. However, Purohit had already been in jail for the past nine years.

Digvijaya Singh’s allegation that the BJP and NIA were working in tandem to ensure acquittal of all RSS-affiliated people who have been accused in various bomb blast cases was also a reference to the Bombay High Court’s order earlier this year under which key Malegaon blasts accused, Sadhvi Pragya, was granted relief after the NIA claimed that it did not have sufficient evidence to prove her involvement in 2008 blast that had killed 4 people and left 79 injured. However, the NIA had then claimed that it had enough evidence to prove the involvement of Lt Col Purohit, who then challenged the Bombay High Court’s order of not granting him relief in the Supreme Court.

The Congress, which often has been forced to distance itself from Singh’s remarks related to Hindu terror, however, seemed to back him on his latest salvo. The party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala insisted that the bail granted to Purohit “is not a reflection of whether or not Purohit was guilty in the blast case”.

Surjewala seemed to concur with Singh’s remarks about the NIA chief getting two extensions in office, saying it is “strange” that the Modi government could not find any competent police officer in India to head the NIA and had to give two extensions to the current chief.

The BJP, expectedly, has slammed Singh’s comments with several party leaders claimed that Purohit was granted bail by the Supreme Court and the Congress leader “has no right to question the judgement of the country’s highest court”.

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