The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court has rejected the bail application filed by all four accused in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case, observing that prima facie evidence collected by the NIA proves their involvement in the case.
Manohar Narwaria, Rajendra Chaudhary, Dhan Singh and Lokesh Sharma are the accused booked by the NIA for the Malegaon blasts in 2006 which killed 31 people and injured 312.
“At this stage, it appears to me that there is prima facie evidence collected by the NIA to show that the accused No. 14 to 17 along with absconding accused prepared bombs, planted the same at Malegaon … bearing in mind the seriousness of the crime and the charges levelled against the accused persons they do not deserve bail,” said Special Judge V V Patil.
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In April, the same court had discharged nine men arrested by the ATS. The current set of accused were arrested in 2011 after the probe was transferred to the NIA following the confessional statement of Swami Aseemanand, an accused in the Mecca Masjid blasts. Aseemanand had allegedly confessed that the blasts at Malegaon were the handiwork of RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi and his men.
The defence advocates had argued that though Aseemanand had eventually retracted his statement saying it was made under coercion, the NIA had relied on it to book the current accused.
The NIA, while opposing the bail plea, had denied this allegation claiming that there was enough evidence to book the four.
The defence advocates had also argued that the NIA had relied on a Test Identification Parade where two witnesses — the owner and an employee of the place where the bicycle used to plant the bomb was purchased — had identified one of the accused who purchased the cycle in 2006.
Advocates Prashant Maggu and J P Mishra had claimed that it was not possible to believe that they could identify the accused seven years after the incident. “This aspect can be considered after completion of evidence of the witnesses, not at this stage,” the court observed on the defence’s contention.
The defence also claimed evidence was “manipulated” with the way the disclosure statements of the accused were recorded.
“The truth is that in all disclosure statements given by the accused persons, nothing incriminating has been seized by the NIA at their instance. The disclosure statements, which prima facie appears stereotype (sic), simply points out the prior and subsequent acts of the accused persons before and after the blasts. In my view, at this stage it would not be proper either to wholly rely or to discard the statements,” the order states.
The court will now proceed to file charges against the four accused and has adjourned the matter till June 20.
Two of the accused, Lokesh Sharma and Dhan Singh, were also booked by the NIA in case but were not chargesheeted after the agency find no evidence against them.