Probe barbaric ATS: Advani

via Pioneer News Service | New Delhi published on November 18, 2008

Outraged by the alleged barbaric treatment meted out by the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, senior BJP leader LK Advani has demanded a judicial inquiry into the functioning of the squad in the Malegaon probe. The sadhvi has charged the ATS with torturing and abusing her to extract confessions in the Malegaon terror attack.

The NDA’s prime ministerial candidate also objected to the manner in which the “fair name” of the defence forces was being tarnished by the ATS. Asserting that the investigating team had lost the moral authority to investigate the case, Advani demanded, “The existing ATS team should be totally changed.”

A “shocked” Advani asserted that the barbaric treatment meted to the sadhvi was not expected in a country that prided itself on its democracy. “On the flight from Delhi to Raipur, I read the full text of Sadhvi Pragya’s affidavit before the Nashik court. I cannot believe that such barbaric treatment has been meted to a spiritual person, that too a woman in a country that prides itself on its democracy and rule of law,” the senior BJP leader said in a statement released by his party here.

Advani, who had so far refrained from commenting on the Mumbai ATS’ claim about the alleged involvement of the sadhvi and her associates in this year’s Malegaon blast, put the current investigating team of the Mumbai ATS in the dock.

“After going through her affidavit, detailing how she was physically and psychologically tortured and abused in obscene language by her interrogators, I have to express my shock and outrage…which I am sure all Indians will share,” the senior BJP leader, who recently had a tête-à-tête with RSS leaders on this issue, stated.

The former Deputy Prime Minister said it was “incredible” that the sadhvi was kept in illegal detention for two weeks while she was “tortured in a vicious manner” that led to her hospitalisation. “The polygraph and narco tests were conducted without her consent. Not even a woman constable was present during her illegal confinement,” Advani maintained.

Saying it has further become clear the ATS was acting in a “politically motivated and unprofessional” manner, Advani took strong exception to the probing agencies U-turn on Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Purohit’s alleged involvement in the Samjhauta Express explosions.

“After levelling all kind of charges against a serving Army officer and suggesting that he stole RDX from an Army depot to organise blasts in the Samjhauta Express, it has now admitted that no RDX was used in those blasts,” Advani said.

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