SPP Rohini Salian not on new list of public prosecutors for NIA; NIA raps Indian Express for “one sided story”

SPP Rohini Salian not on new list of public prosecutors for NIA; NIA raps Indian Express for “one sided story”

After stirring a controversy with a spur of allegations against the NIA, Special Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian does not feature in the latest list of prosecutors appointed by the NIA. The notification, dated May 25 and signed by Joint Secretary M.A. Ganapti, discloses the names of 33 public prosecutors who would represent NIA in various courts across the country.

The new notification says that five lawyers have been appointed as special public prosecutors to represent NIA in Maharashtra. They are Pradhan Chandamal, Nandkishor Rathod, Sunil Gonsalves, Avinash Rasal and Prakash Shetty.

In the case related to the 2008 Malegaon blasts case in which four Muslims were killed during Ramzan and in which Hindu extremists are the accused, SPP Salian had alleged that over the past one year, since “the new government came to power,” she has been under pressure from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to go “soft” in the case.

Asked when she got the feeling that she was being asked to go slow, she replied, “Last year I got a call from one of the officers of the NIA, asking to come over to speak to me. He didn’t want to talk over the phone. He came and said there is a message that I should go soft.”

In the interview, Salian also claimed that she can prove the allegations against NIA. You may read the LiveLaw story here.

Responding to an Indian Express article, NIA had issued a clarification recently. The clarification explained the entire hierarchy followed by the NIA with respect to notification of Special Public Prosecutors. NIA has argued that Salian's accusation came at a time when the process of her de-notification was underway and thus her claims are smear against the agency.

It explained that during the meeting of the designated Committee chaired by DG, NIA held on 12.01. 15, recommendations for fresh empanelment were made. Subsequently, based on the recommendations, MHA notified 33 new Spl PPs vide its notification dated 25th May, which included five for the state of Maharashtra.

As per the clarification, during the  same  meeting of  12.01.15, the designated committee had also decided that the performance, suitability and availability of the Spl. PPs who are in the panels of five years or more or who are in the last quarter  of completing  five years,  will  be assessed  and  if need be,  recommendations be made for de-notifying them.

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“In  compliance of  the  decision of  the  designated committee heads  of  NIA  branches  were  asked  to  send  their  recommendations for de-notification . In response, the Mumbai branch, vide its letter dt. 16th June 2015, has recommended for de-notifying three Spl. PPs including Ms. Rohini Salian (who will be completing five years on 31.08.2015) in view of many Spl. PPs already available for representing the branch. Recommendation of the branch has reached the Head office and the matter is under process,” the clarification states.

Denying all allegations that surfaced in the interview, the clarification states, “The Malegaon blast case 2008, mentioned by Ms. Rohini Salian in her interview to the Indian Express, has not yet reached the trial stage. Therefore, it is incorrect to infer that Ms Salian was being bypassed for court appearances. Further, NIA completely denies the issuance of inappropriate briefing by any officer of the agency to the Spl. PP or creating impediments in her prosecution work of NIA cases she has been handling.”

Rapping the newspaper for the coverage, it stated, “NIA also wishes to  place on record that before publishing a news article, it is expected that the concerned reporter approaches the agency for hearing its version and avoids writing a one sided story.” You may read the entire text of the clarification here.

A lawyer of 25-year standing, Salian is also a prosecutor in Mulund bomb blast case (in which three cases are clubbed together) and 2002 Ghatkopar bomb blast case. She has also appeared in some high-profile TADA cases and MCOCA cases.

She hails from Mangalore in Karnataka and has also served as the Chief Public Prosecutor in Mumbai for close to five years. She was also the public prosecutor in the 1992 J.J Hospital shoot-out case in which underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's aide Subhash Thakur was sentenced to death.

Read NIA's Press Release here.