Sadhvi’s allegations of torture being probed, NSA assures Advani (Lead)

November 21st, 2008 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan Friday assured senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani that torture allegations of Sadhvi Pragnya Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon bombing, would be looked into. The meeting was a follow up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s telephonic conversation with Advani a day earlier where he assured him that Narayanan would “explain the facts” of the probe into the Sep 29 blast.

Advani was particularly disturbed by the affidavit filed by Pragnya in the Nashik court where she gave details of how she was tortured and kept in illegal detention for 16 days.

“My query was only confined to the affidavit and this was the communication with the prime minister,” Advani said while speaking at the Hindustan Times leadership summit after the meeting with Narayanan.

“I met the National Security Advisor and spent quite some time. I was told that the content of the affidavit is being probed and that is how the meeting ended.”

BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: “Advani heard them patiently and reiterated his demand made to Manmohan Singh Thursday for a judicial inquiry into Pragnya Singh’s charges that the ATS tortured her in custody.”

Manmohan Singh Singh had called Advani just after he issued a strongly worded statement attacking the “barbaric treatment” of the saffron-robed sadhvi by Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad and against the backdrop of the BJP raking up its protest against the Malegaon arrests.

Advani had also slammed the Anti-Terrorism Squad for an “unprofessional and politically-motivated” probe into the case.

Party insiders said Advani also used the conversation to rebut any suggestion that the BJP had reversed its stand on terrorism because of the “faith” of Malegaon suspects.

The ATS has booked all the 10 accused in the Malegaon blast under a stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) law that will allow the authorities to keep them in detention for six months before filing a charge sheet.

The accused charged under MCOCA include the sadhvi, a self-proclaimed pontiff and a serving army officer, Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit.

Investigations into the Sep 29 Malegaon blast, which left six dead and 20 injured, are in the final stage of completion.

If found guilty under MCOCA, the accused face a minimum of five years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life term.

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