A special MCOCA court on Thursday upheld invoking of tough MCOCA against the 11 arrested accused,including Lt Col Prasad Purohit and sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur,in Malegaon blast case saying there was prima facie evidence against them of having aided,abetted and conspired to commit criminal activities.
The court took cognisance of the 4000-page chargesheet filed in the case observing that invoking MCOCA is valid.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had on January 20 filed a chargesheet against arrested accused.
However,the court had at that time not taken cognisance of the chargesheet after the defence lawyers argued that the application of the stringent provisions of MCOCA was invalid.
Special MCOCA Judge Y D Shinde,after perusing the chargesheet,took cognisance of the chargesheet and observed that there was prima facie evidence against the accused of having aided,abetted and conspired to commit criminal activities.
The next hearing in the case is on February 12 when the judicial custody of all the 11 accused ends.
The ATS had invoked MCOCA in the Malegaon case after one of the accused Rakesh Dhawde was chargehseeted in two other cases.
Shrikant Shivde,advocate for Purohit who had been shown as the main conspirator in the chargesheet,had argued that both the chargesheets against Dhawde were filed after the Malegaon blast on September 29.
Dhawde was arrested and produced before a court in Nashik on November 15,2008. On the same day,the prosecution filed a supplementary chargesheet against him in the 2004 Jalna blast case, Shivde said.
The counsel said the court had however taken cognisance of that chargesheet only on November 28 while the prosecution invoked MCOCA in the Malegaon case on November 20.
Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian argued Dhawde had committed more than one offence and that the sanction for invocation of MCOCA was given after the competent authority,a senior IPS officer,perused the documents.
Once the competent authority has perused the papers and found sufficient material against the accused,then the court can take cognisance of the chargesheet, Salian said.
The competent authority while sanctioning the invocation of MCOCA had stated that there is sufficient material against the accused of having conspired,aided and abetted each other to achieve objective of organised crime syndicate and committed unlawful activities.
Accepting the prosecution’s arguments,the court today took cognisance of the chargesheet,in which the accused have been charged under MCOCA,Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA),Indian Penal Code (IPC),Arms Act and Explosive Substances Act.