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Malegaon blast accused Kulkarni alleges delay in trial, says ‘relevant witnesses’ should be examined

🔴 During a press conference on Monday, Kulkarni said that 13 years have passed since the incident and despite a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court constituted in Mumbai for daily hearings of the Malegaon bomb blast case, trial is going on at a very slow pace.

Written by Chandan Haygunde | Pune |
January 25, 2022 4:46:06 am
2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, Sameer Kulkarni, National Investigation Agency, Mumbai, Mumbai latest news, Maharashtra latest news, anti-terrorism squad, indian expressSameer Kulkarni at a press conference at Patrakar Bhavan on Monday. (Express Photo by Ashish Kale)

Sameer Kulkarni, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, has demanded that the trial in the case should not be delayed and that “relevant witnesses” should be examined.

During a press conference on Monday, Kulkarni said that 13 years have passed since the incident and despite a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court constituted in Mumbai for daily hearings of the Malegaon bomb blast case, trial is going on at a very slow pace.

In addition, Kulkarni said that unless Colonel Prasad Purohit, also an accused in the case, is “dismissed from service”, it will not be possible to conduct speedy trial and conclude the case in the special NIA court.

Kulkarni, a resident of Pune, had made similar allegations in 2019 and claimed that lawyers of the “high profile” co-accused, including Purohit, were working in “an organised manner” to cause delays in the trial of this case.

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On Monday, he said, “So far, 223 witnesses have been examined before the court, 16 have turned hostile. But important and relevant witnesses are not being examined. I attend the trial regularly. Huge money is being spent on this trial. But it is continuously getting delayed. I am innocent. But unless the court acquits me, I cannot live a normal life. Thirteen years have already passed. This is a long time. Trial should be conducted fast and on a daily basis.”

He added: “Action should be taken against those accused who are not following the conditions laid down by court while granting them bail. Their bail should be canceled.”

Kulkarni welcomed the decision taken by Maharashtra’s home minister Dilip Walse-Patil that lawyers and officials of the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS), which had earlier investigated the Malegaon case, be present at the court during the trial. The decision was taken in the wake of witnesses turning hostile.

A bomb blast in Malegaon in Nashik on September 29, 2008 had left 10 persons dead and several others injured.

The state ATS team led by IPS officer Hemant Karkare had then arrested Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya, who is now a BJP MP from Bhopal, Dayanand Pande, Kulkarni and others under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for allegedly preparing conspiracy for the bomb blast. Purohit was then a lieutenant colonel in the Indian Army.

According to the prosecution, Kulkarni is alleged to have arranged chemicals used in the blast. It was also alleged that Kulkarni had been to Indore and Nashik to attend meetings in which the conspiracy was allegedly hatched. He was granted bail in 2017.

In January 2009, the ATS filed a chargesheet against 12 accused persons. Later, in 2011, the investigation of the terror attack was handed over to the NIA. Of the 12 accused persons, five, including Rakesh Dhawade, were discharged in the case. Charges were framed against seven others who are currently out on bail.

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