The Bombay High Court Tuesday went through the audio and video recordings of the “conspiracy” meetings, held among the accused prior to the 2008 Malegaon blast, to ascertain the presence and role of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, one of the main accused in the case. The court said that one of the CDs had cracks while a few others were not relevant. Of the 14 CDs that were submitted, the court was able to play and view only one. Another CD, which was played, had only audio for which transcript was available.
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The order said, “We opened the sealed packet bearing Art No. 183, the same contains one CD. We have viewed the same on the laptop in the Chamber. We also opened the sealed packet bearing Art No.173. It contained 1 CD but the same was having crack and, therefore, could not be played. So far as Art No.172 is concerned, we played the CD on the laptop, we found that the same was an audio CD and not a video CD and we were told that transcript of the audio CD is available. So far as Art No.200 is concerned, the same contains 11 CDs, we have perused the title of individual CD and found that they are not relevant for deciding this application for bail. Accordingly, all the CDs are resealed and sent to the Registry. The Registry is directed to send them back to the trial court.”
The court was hearing Sadhvi’s application regarding her bail plea. In the last hearing, a division bench headed by Justice Ranjit More had directed the registry of the trial court to produce the CDs pertaining to the meetings which were submitted by the ATS. This came after counsel of the intervenor, B A Desai, pointed out to the court that while the chargesheet mentions seizure of audio and video recordings of meetings held in Bhopal, Faridabad, Ujjain and Indore, only the transcripts of Faridabad meeting are on record.
The investigating agencies, however, said it had submitted the Bhopal meeting CDs to the court which did not contain the video, following which it asked the registry to produce it and make arrangements to play it in the court.
A few CDs in sealed covers were submitted to the court Tuesday that had recordings of the meetings. The recordings were being played in the courtroom; however, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh objected to it being played in the presence of the media and requested the bench to examine them in the chamber. Both the ATS and NIA were uncertain about whether the CDs contained the recording of the Bhopal meeting. There were apprehensions over whether relevant CDs (Bhopal meeting) were produced before the court.
Desai had earlier pointed to the court that while in Faridabad meetings, Sadhvi was not present, the Bhopal meeting evidence is crucial as she was part of the meeting, plotting the blast.
The court after examining the CDs in the chamber asked the intervenor to make further submissions. The arguments will continue on February 16.