2008 Malegaon blast: In courtroom, spotlight on role of sniffer doghttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/2008-malegaon-blast-pragya-singh-thakur-in-courtroom-spotlight-on-role-of-sniffer-dog-5779887/

2008 Malegaon blast: In courtroom, spotlight on role of sniffer dog

According to the certificate prepared by the witness at the site hours after the blast, a sniffer dog named Shaun had given a “signal” about the presence of explosive particles on the motorcycle.

According to the certificate prepared by the witness at the site hours after the blast, a sniffer dog named Shaun had given a ‘signal’ about the presence of explosive particles on the motorcycle at the blast site. (Archive)

In the 2008 Malegaon blast case, an official from the bomb detection and disposal squad, deposing in court, on Thursday identified a certificate prepared by him that stated that explosive particles were seen on the spare parts of the LML Freedom motorcycle at the blast site. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, which initially probed the case, claims the motorcycle belongs to accused and BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur.

According to the certificate prepared by the witness at the site hours after the blast, a sniffer dog named Shaun had given a “signal” about the presence of explosive particles on the motorcycle.

The certificate lists the motorcycle’s spare parts as the only objects found at the blast site. It mentions that Shaun’s handler, who was part of the team led by the witness in the wee hours of September 30, 2008, had shown Shaun the “object”, to which Shaun responded with a “signal”. The witness told the court that the dog’s handler was equipped to understand the barking as a signal, based on which the certificate was prepared.

Advocate Ranjeet Sangle, representing accused Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi, asked the witness if he was an expert in interpreting the “signal” given by the dog. The witness said that he could, based on the dog’s bark. Sangle then asked the witness, “How did the dog bark?”.

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Special Judge V S Padalkar asked the lawyer how could the court record the barking of a dog. Sangle told the judge that the court was being hostile after which Judge Padalkar said that the defence lawyer was being hostile instead.

The court recorded that the court had not been told how it should record the barking of the dog. The court then asked Sangle if it was expected to record the answer to his question as “bhow-bhow”.

Subsequently, Sangle told the court that he wanted to ask the witness how many times the dog had barked. The witness was eventually asked if the assistance of the dog handler is necessary to interpret the dog’s signal, to which the witness answered in the affirmative.

Sangle asked the witness whether the BDDS would require a “clear and uncontaminated” site for inspection, referring to the delay in the team reaching the spot. The witness said yes and volunteered that the police had cordoned off the blast site till their team reached the spot, nearly four hours later.

The defence advocates, representing Thakur, J P Mishra and Prashant Maggu, during cross-examination asked the witness if the dog had given the signal only at the spare parts because he was led to it, to which he said no. The witness said that the dog was allowed in the area of the blast site but he had given a signal only at the spare parts of the motorcycle.