State Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil said Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) will be present during the hearing of the controversial Malegaon blast case from now on. In an exclusive interview to CNN-News18, he said that the matter was decided after legal consultation.
“It amazes me that so far 16 witnesses have turned hostile. NIA is probing it and if the investigation is done properly then the real culprits will definitely come out. There is a legal opinion that Maharashtra should also look into this. So now the Maharashtra government will send a legal representative to the court from now on. We will try to talk to NIA also.
Asked about the recent claims made by Congress leader Naseem Khan that it was a conspiracy to defame not only Maharashtra ATS, but also the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, he said, “We don’t know what is behind it. Is this an attempt to put the Maharashtra government in the wrong box? I do not think so. But it’s not okay to put pressure on anyone.”
‘Mumbai Police was quick to act in Bulli Bai case’
Describing the intentions of the accused in the Bulli Bai case as “disgusting”, Walse-Patil said the Mumbai Police was quick to act in the matter. “When Mumbai Police came to know about it, they immediately swung into action. In the subsequent action, three people were arrested. When we were going to arrest the main accused, Delhi Police came to know about it and arrested him. Such acts against women cannot be supported in our society. He said that there would be strict punishment against the guilty.
When asked whether he saw the arrest of the main accused by the Special Cell of Delhi Police as a rivalry, he said, “There should be no rivalry between the police forces. No legal action was taken in the Sully Deal case. But the Mumbai Police took quick action and arrested the accused (in the bully bye case). After interrogation by Delhi Police, we will take the main accused into custody and interrogate him.
“I do not see this as a failure of the Mumbai Police. Had the accused been in Mumbai and escaped arrest, it would have been understandable. But Mumbai Police was on the way. The location was closer to Delhi than Mumbai. They got the information. He acted fast and arrived. Had the Delhi Police not arrested him, we would have arrested him.”
‘Misuse of central agencies like never before’
Walse-Patil also talked about his predecessor, Anil Deshmukh. Responding to the allegations of extortion against the former home minister, he said, “Whoever has made these allegations against Anil Deshmukh is not coming forward to give any evidence.”
When asked about Deshmukh’s bail plea, he said, “The court will decide on bail.” But whatever is happening is happening in front of everyone. Everyone says it is politically motivated, to scare us. We’ve never seen anything like this before.”