The Bombay High Court on Monday ordered that Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and other 10 accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts case will face trial under Maharashtra’s tough MCOCA,a year after charges on them under this anti -terror law were dropped.
In a boost to the Anti-Terrorism Squad(ATS),the High Court restored the charges under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) on all the 11 accused that also included Lt Col S P Purohit after quashing the order of a special court last year in this regard.
The Court said the application of MCOCA by the prosecution was justified.
The ruling was given by Justice B H Marlapalle and Justice Anoop Mohta on an appeal by the State government in the Bombay High Court challenging the order of the special court.
The trial of the case will now resume before a Special MCOCA court in Mumbai. The accused,currently lodged in Nasik Central Prison,would be brought to a jail here to stand the trial.
Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29,2008,at Malegaon,a communally-sensitive textile town in Nasik district of North Maharashtra,bringing into focus some right-wing Hindu groups.
On July 31 last year,a Special MCOCA court here had ruled that ATS had wrongly applied MCOCA in this case against Pragya,Purohit and nine others.
The special Court had opined that none of the accused was part of organised crime syndicate and also no one had more than one chargesheet filed against him for invoking MCOCA.
Accordingly,the special court dropped MCOCA charges and the case was transferred to a Nasik court for trial under IPC.
The 4,000-page chargesheet had alleged that Malegaon was selected as the blast target because Muslims form sizeable part of its population. It named Pragya Thakur,Purohit and another accused Swami Dayanand Pandey as the key conspirators.
The chargesheet had further alleged it was Pandey who had instructed Purohit to arrange for RDX while Sadhvi owned the motorcycle used in the blast.
Ajay Rahirkar,another accused,allegedly organised finances for the terror act while conspiracy meetings were held at Bhonsala Military School in Nasik.
Rakesh Dhawde,Ramesh Upadhyay,Shyamlal Sahu,Shivnarain Kalsangra,Sudhakar Chaturvedi,Jagdish Mhatre and Sameer Kulkarni were the other seven accused.