A special court last week rejected the bail applications filed by two accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast. The accused had contended that they have an indefeasible right to bail since the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is yet to file a chargesheet against them.
In orders passed on December 31, 2015, Judge S D Tekale of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court dismissed the bail applications filed by Lt-Col Prasad Purohit and Sudhakar Dhar Dwiwedi, who are both accused in the terror attack in Malegaon that killed four and injured 79 others.
Both Purohit and Dwiwedi had contended that the investigation conducted by the NIA since 2011 is not a continuation of that of the Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad, the original investigating agency. While the ATS filed its chargesheet against 11 accused in 2009, the central government handed over the probe to the NIA in 2011.
The duo also claimed that they had been remanded to judicial custody in spite of the NIA failing to file a chargesheet. Their bail appeals also stated that the NIA’s probe could not be counted as a continuation of the earlier probe as it had filed a fresh FIR against them in Delhi in 2011.
Judge Tekale, however, noted that the NIA Act makes no mention of a fresh investigation and ruled that the NIA was furthering the probe after the ATS filed its chargesheet.
In their bail applications, Purohit and Dwiwedi had also stated that fellow accused Lokesh Sharma and Dhan Singh Choudhary had been granted bail in 2012 and 2013 by the court after the NIA failed to file chargesheet them within the prescribed time and that they ought to be treated on parity.
Judge Tekale, however, observed, “After his (applicant’s) arrest by ATS Maharashtra within prescribed period of time chargesheet is filed against him. Hence, question of parity does not arise.”
The prosecution also contended that the two cases were different because Sharma and Choudhary had been arrested by the NIA, unlike Purohit and Dwiwedi, who were held by the ATS. The judge also stated that he had reminded the NIA in his order issued last month that it should complete its investigation as soon as possible. The court is currently hearing bail arguments of all the accused under the direction of the Bombay High Court.