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Monday, January 24, 2022

Malegaon blast trial: Witness turns hostile; 16th to do so

The witness had told the ATS then that no record is maintained of religious heads who visit the dharamshala, so record of Thakur's visit is not available.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
January 8, 2022 12:25:30 am
malegaon blasts caseA blast at Malegaon near Nashik on September 29, 2008, killed six people and injured over 100. (File)

In the ongoing 2008 Malegaon blast trial, a witness turned hostile on Friday, taking the count of witnesses not supporting the prosecution case so far to 16. The witness, 221st to depose in the case was related to a statement recorded by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) about accused BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur.

The witness denied giving a statement to the ATS or having hosted Thakur at a dharamshala in 2008. According to his statement – which is a part of the ATS chargesheet – it was claimed that he was working at a dharamshala in Ujjain when he was informed that a sadhvi was going to visit on October 8, 2008 and arrangements should be made for her stay.

The statement added that around 11.45 am, a sadhvi with a sevak arrived at the dharamshala. The manager of the dharamshala took her blessings, after which she went to her room. Around 12 pm, a 60-year old man and around 1 pm, a 40-year-old man, came to visit her. His statement then did not identity of the two visitors.

The witness had told the ATS then that no record is maintained of religious heads who visit the dharamshala, so record of Thakur’s visit is not available. The witness told the court on Friday that there is no record maintained of religious heads but the staff at the dharamshala is instructed about any visits by them.

On Friday, another witness, who worked at the shop of Shyam Sahu – discharged as an accused in the case – also deposed.

The witness was shown a register seized by the ATS and asked whether he made note of the SIM cards sold at the shop.

The witness said that he was not in charge of maintaining the register but identified his signature on it from the time the ATS seized it in 2008. The ATS has claimed that SIM cards used by absconding accused were bought here and he visited the shop to recharge his phone.

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