RANCHI: As Union Home Secretary, RK Singh had famously backed up the previous UPA government when it had spoken about involvement of right-wing extremist groups in 2013. For five years, Power Minister RK Singh, who joined the BJP right after his retirement, was seen to evade questions on the controversial statement linking Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or RSS functionaries to bomb blasts.
- In 2013, RK Singh had spoken about right-wing extremist groups
- He now emphasized he hadn't come up with the statement on his own
- Spoken then on basis of information provided by NIA: RK Singh
On Tuesday, he decided to break his silence, and explain.
Mr Singh, 65, said he had only spoken back then on the basis of the information made available to him by the National Investigation Agency, or NIA, which had been probing the blast cases.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had, speaking at a Congress conclave in Jaipur, accused "the BJP and RSS of conducting terror training camps" to spread terror. Mr Shinde's party had distanced the Congress from its Home Minister's description of "saffron terror" insisting that terrorism should not be viewed through the prism of religion and terror had no colour.
It was against this backdrop that Mr Singh had joined the controversy to confirm that there was proof to back up the Home Minister's charge.
"Oh yes, we have proof," Mr Singh, then a Bihar cadre IAS officer had said.
"Investigation into the Samjhauta Express blast, Mecca Masjid blast, Dargah Sharif blast, all these. We have at least 10 names, who have been associated with the RSS at some point or the other.... We have 10 names," he had said. Home Minister Shinde had later regretted his allegation.
Emphasising that he hadn't come up with the statement on his own, Mr Singh on Tuesday explained officials and ministers make statements on the basis of the information provided by their agencies.
"Any official at any ministry, when he gives an official statement, that statement is based on information provided by the agencies under it. In these cases, the investigation agency was NIA," the Power Minister, who had a reputation of no-nonsense bureaucrat and is best-known as the officer who stopped the rath yatra of BJP patriarch LK Advani and arrested him in October 1990.
Years later, RK Singh had an opportunity to work with LK Advani when he was Union Home Minister and was to have taken positions that did not suit the political leadership. He went on to become Union Home Secretary when the Congress-led UPA was in power at the centre, cracking down on terror and naxal violence. Incidentally, Mr Singh did not get along with then Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and after his retirement, called out Mr Shinde for putting pressure on officials in the Ishrat Jehan encounter case and efforts to get underworld don Dawood Ibrahim back.
But he had scrupulously avoided making any references to the 2013 statement.
Mr Singh had then listed statements given by some of the accused as one of the evidence that the NIA had reported its findings, seen as an oblique reference to Aseemanand's confessional statement made before a magistrate.
"I don't think these can be denied any anyone," he had said. Aseemanand, one of the names that he had then counted among his list of 10 names, however, did later claim that he was forced to indict himself.
He has been already acquitted in Ajmer's Dargarh Sharif blast as well as the Mecca Masjid blast in 2007. The court is yet to deliver its verdict in the Samjhauta Express blast.