AFTER SIX-AND-A-HALF years in jail, the Bombay High Court on Friday granted bail to four accused in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case, observing that they cannot concur with the findings of the trial court, which held that there is prima facie evidence against them.
Manohar Narwaria, Rajendra Chaudhary, Dhan Singh and Lokesh Sharma were booked by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for the Malegaon blasts in 2006, which killed 31 and injured 312.
A division bench of Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice A M Badar, while granting bail, said, “.we are unable to concur with the findings of the learned Special Judge, to the effect that there are reasonable grounds for believing that accusation against appellants/accused persons is prima facie true.”
In 2006, the special court had rejected the bail applications of the four accused, observing that prima facie evidence collected by the NIA proves their involvement in the case. On September 8, 2006, four bombs exploded in the premises of Hamidia Masjid, Bada Kabrastan and Mushawarat Square at Malegaon.
In April 2016, the trial court had discharged nine Muslims arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), following the chargesheet filed by the NIA, giving a clean chit to them.
The set of four accused were arrested in 2011 after the probe was transferred to the NIA following the statement of Swami Aseemanand, an accused in the Mecca Masjid blasts, who allegedly confessed that the blasts at Malegaon were the handiwork of RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi and his men.
The bench said the special court should not have ignored the reports submitted by ATS and CBI. “.the special court cannot have any jurisdiction to ignore any of the reports but the same is duty-bound to consider all reports, entire record and documents submitted by the ATS, CBI as well as the NIA.,” the bench said.