Pointing to possible “lapses” in investigations and “sketchy” evidence, the High Court of Bombay at Goa Saturday upheld the acquittal of six Sanatan Sanstha members charged by the National Investigation Agency for the 2009 IED explosion in Margao town.
A bench of Justices M S Sonak and M S Jawalkar, hearing the NIA’s challenge to a special court’s acquittal verdict, said the probe body had established that the accused were members of the outfit, but could not back up the motive with proof.
“Suspicion, howsoever grave, can never take place of proof which is required in such matters,” the bench said.
According to NIA, members of the Sanatan Sanstha had taken offence over a Narakasur effigy-making contest on the eve of Diwali (October 16) and proceeded to attack the venue with a bomb. The improvised IED, which was being ferried in a scooter, exploded prematurely, killing two members, it said. A total of eleven people had been charged, including the two deceased persons. Three others are absconding.
On Saturday, Vinay Talekar, Dhananjay Ashtekar, Prashant Ashtekar, Vinayak Patil, Prashant Juvekar and Dilip Mazgaonkar, all Maharashtra residents and Sadhaks at Sanathan Sanstha, were acquitted under stringent sections of UAPA, the Explosive Substances Act, and the IPC.
The High Court order said: “There is no independent evidence on record to establish the conspiracy or meeting of minds amongst the accused persons. The evidence regarding the conspiracy is quite sketchy.”
“It is possible also to hold that there were several lapses in the investigations and therefore, the prosecution, has failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt the charges against the accused persons.”
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