A MUMBAI court is likely to give its decision Monday on the discharge application filed by the Muslim men accused of the September 2006 Malegaon blasts.
The case will come up for hearing in the court of Sessions Judge V V Patil. In the last hearing on April 12, NIA counsel Prakash Shetty had told the court during arguments on the application that the central agency opposed the plea to discharge the accused at this stage. This was a change from the earlier stand of the NIA, which in a reply filed to this application in 2014, had questioned the ATS case against the nine accused.
“It is submitted that the evidence collected by NIA in further investigation is not in consonance with the evidence collected earlier by ATS and CBI. No evidence was found in support of the conclusion drawn in final report filed by ATS and supplementary final report submitted by the CBI recommending prosecution of the nine accused,” the 2014 reply by the NIA had stated, urging the court to pass appropriate orders in view of the submission.
In the current case, there are two sets of accused with three agencies probing the case since 2006. The first nine accused as per the ATS and the CBI are Noorul Huda, Shabbir Ahmed, Raees Ahmed, Salman Farsi, Farogh Magdumi, Shaikh Mohammed Ali, Asif Khan, Mohammed Zahid and Abrar Ahmed. After the NIA took over, it gave a no-objection to the bail application filed by these nine men in 2011, having booked another set of accused — Manohar Nawaria, Rajendra Chaudhary, Dhan Singh, Shiv Singh, Sunil Joshi (now dead), Ramchandra Kalsangra, Ramesh Mahalkar, Sandeep Dange and a few others — in the case.
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During the arguments on the discharge, advocates for the eight men (accused Salman Farsi has not filed a discharge plea) questioned the locus standi of the ATS to make a submission before the court opposing the plea. Advocates The Indian Express spoke to expressed that having two sets of accused in a criminal trial would make it difficult for the judicial process.