Sena activist moves high court against Sadhvi’s ‘torture’

November 20th, 2008 - 6:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Nov 20 (IANS) A Shiv Sena activist Thursday filed a public interest petition before the Bombay High Court seeking an inquiry into Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragnya Chandrapal Singh Thakur’s charge that anti-terrorism squad officials were torturing her.The petition, filed by Shilpa Deshmukh, the Sena’s woman leader from Dadar, central Mumbai, has sought action against the Maharashtra police Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for “gross misuse and abuse of its powers” in the investigations into the blast case, her lawyer V.P. Patil told IANS.

The petition is expected to come up for hearing before Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar next Thursday, he said.

Sadhvi Pragnya, 38, and eight other accused, alleged to be part of a radical Hindu terror network, are in ATS custody for their suspected role in the blast in Malegaon town of Maharashtra Sep 29 that left six dead and 20 injured.

In her petition, Deshmukh has contended that the ATS officials have been behaving in a “high-handed” manner in the investigations against the sadhvi. She also said that only male officers are probing the case against the sole woman accused, and questioned why there are no women investigators.

She has demanded that the entire investigation into the blast should be withdrawn from the ATS and handed over to the state Crime Investigation Department (CID), Patil said.

In this context, she referred to the sadhvi’s affidavit filed before the Nashik Court this week, accusing the ATS of ill-treatment, physical and mental torture in confinement, and her prayers to the court, demanding narco-analysis tests on ATS officials.

The petition also raised objections to the manner in which ATS chief Hemant Karkare keeps revealing sensitive details of the investigation to the media.

It has also pointed out that Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil, who holds the home portfolio, recently commended the ATS investigations as going in the “right direction”.

The petitioner questioned whether Patil was conducting the investigations, and also how the home minister could make such an observation before the media, particularly since the matter is sub-judice.

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