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Thane theatre blast: Defence seeks change in draft charges

The defence in the Thane’s Gadkari Rangayatan bomb blast case on Wednesday sought to alter the draft charges submitted by the prosecution...

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
January 8, 2009 1:20:17 am

The defence in the Thane’s Gadkari Rangayatan bomb blast case on Wednesday sought to alter the draft charges submitted by the prosecution,arguing that Section 307 pertaining to unlawful assembly along with the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) doesn’t apply against the six accused charged with executing the blasts at the theatre screening a Marathi play.

All the six accused have been booked for criminal conspiracy,attempt to murder and under various sections of the IPC,UAPA,Explosives Act,Explosive Substances Act and the Arms Act. The defence argued that as there was no intention established of killing a particular person and the target was not defined,therefore,attempt to murder charge was not applicable. Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian told the court that the accused had larger agenda in hand and were on common mind of striking terror and hence no question of an individual target arose.

Defence advocate Sanjiv Punalekar had also argued that the accused did not fit the definition of a “terrorist” and should not have been slapped with the stringent UAPA. Punalekar said that “the entire matter has been hyped up by the police. Had this incident occurred a decade ago,the police would have booked the same accused for mischief and not for terrorism”.

The prosecution has said that Ramesh Gadkari,Mangesh Nikam,Vikram Bhave,Santosh Angre,Haribhau Divekar and Hemant Chalke were members of right wing group Hindu Janjagruti Sanstha,and planted a bomb at the theatre as it was staging a play,Aamhi Pachpute which they had objected to. Several people were injured in the blast. The court is likely to pass an order on January 15.

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