Mumbai (The Hindu): The National Investigation Agency is likely to file a charge sheet in the 2008 Malegaon blast case before a special MCOCA court in Mumbai by January end, nearly four years after it took over the case.
“We are expecting NIA’s final report by January end. The final report has gone to the NIA head office in Delhi for its approval after which the agency will file it in the court. We are awaiting Delhi’s nod,” Special Public Prosecutor Avinash Rasal told The Hindu.
The Malegaon 2008 blast case was a first case in which Hindu extremists, including Lft. Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit and sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur were charge sheeted in 2009 by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad. The NIA took over the case in 2011.
Mr. Rasal said much of the delay in completing the final report was due to the applications moved by the accused before the Supreme Court, among them challenging the applicability of MCOCA. Tacking down witnesses who were constantly in the move was also a reason behind the delay. In June 2015, former Special PP Rohini Salian had made a shocking revelation that the NIA had asked her to go soft in the case. She alleged that the agency has not moved a single paper in the court after taking over the case.
In October, the special MCOCA accused Purohit, Rakesh Dhawde, Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey and Ramesh Upadhyay were denied bail for their alleged ideology of creating a Hindu Rashtra and their extremist attitude towards the minority community. In November, the court also rejected sadhvi’s bail plea accepting the prosecution’s contention of having prima facie evidence against her. The bail pleas were heard in-camera.
The ATS charge sheet filed on January 20, 2009, was against 14 accused, which included absconding accused Ramji Kasanghra, Sandeep Dange and Praveen Mutalik. In 2011, the ATS arrested Mutalik and in 2012 the NIA arrested Lokesh Sharma.
Photo credit: The Hindu
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