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Expert says dog sniffed explosive on bike ATS claimed was Pragya’s

June 14, 2019 04:53 AM

COURTESY TOI JUNE 14

Expert says dog sniffed explosive on bike ATS claimed was Pragya’s
Rebecca.Samervel@timesgroup.com

Mumbai:

A retired bomb squad officer who had inspected the site hours after the blast at Malegaon in 2008 identified in court a certificate he had given saying a squad dog had signalled the presence of explosive substances on the scattered pieces of an LML Freedom motorcycle on which, investigators had said, the bomb was planted. The ATS, the first investigating agency in the case, had said the bike belonged to prime accused Pragya Singh Thakur, now an MP.


The National Investigation Agency, which took over the case, had given her a clean chit, saying her co-accused (absconding) Ramji Kalsangra was using the bike and she was not connected to it.

The retired officer of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad, the 121st witness to depose, told the special NIA court that in the wee hours of September 30, 2008, he saw spare parts of vehicles, including a bicycle and motorcycle, and essence bottles and other materials scattered at the spot where the blast had taken place. His report, written in Marathi, said a handler and a dog, Sean, were present. The trained dog indicated the presence of explosive substances on the bike parts. Sean subsequently retired from the force and died a few years ago. During cross-examination, the defence advocate Ranjeet Sangle asked why the report hadn’t described any other article from the spot apart from the bike.

The witness answered that the sniffer dog had given a signal only there, and denied suggestion that the handler had not shown the dog the other material at the spot. “Can it be said the other scattered things did not have explosive substance, or the dog couldn’t point it out?” asked Sangle. “The dog only barked at the LML motorcycle (scattered parts),” replied the witness. The retired officer said the dog only gives a signal and it is for the handler to interpret it. “It is not correct to say the BDDS squad did not search the blast site properly and committed mistakes,” he added.

When Sangle asked how the dog had barked, the court took objection. Voices were raised on both sides. Reacting to the court’s repeated objection to the line of questioning, Sangle said the court was being hostile. Recording the exchange, the court said: “The court asks how it can be answered, how is the barking of the dog to be recorded.”

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