On day 1 of the trial in the Malegaon 2008 bomb blasts case, an accused sought permission from court to be allowed to meet his wife and call his mother, another’s sister sought to tie a rakhi on him, while a third applied for barks of a plant for a research project. Judge SD Tekale took all three pleas on record.
The NIA has chargesheeted 14 in the case, of which two are absconding and four are on bail. While seven of the jailed accused were produced on Saturday, Sadhvi Pragya couldn’t appear as she is in custody in Madhya Pradesh in connection with another case.
The case pertains to a blast in a motorcycle in Malegaon on September 29, 2008, that left four dead and 79 injured. An initial probe said the attack was a reaction to blasts linked to Islamist groups. The seven produced on Saturday have been in judicial custody for three months.
The case is back in the news since Rohini Salian, a former public prosecutor in the case, told The Indian Express that she was under pressure from the NIA to “go soft” on the accused.
Accused Sudhakar Dwivedi, who came to court dressed in saffron robes, sought to introduce himself as Swami Amritanand Dev Tirth, but was cut short by the NIA. Col Prasad Purohit, whose bail application is pending, was allowed to meet his wife for an hour in court, but directed to talk only in Marathi.
In his application seeking a twig of a cotton plant and cannabis plant for “research in archery”, accused Rakesh Dhawade contended that as per Sanskrit scriptures, materials from these plants were “the strongest in the month of Bhadrapath (current month according to the Marathi calendar)” to make the bowstring of an archery bow. Dhawade said he wanted to research the topic and would return the material after his experiments were done.
He was carrying three books on archery studies to the court, including “Vaishisthiya Dhanurvidya” which contained the verse explaining the making of a bow-string. The NIA opposed it but the court granted it.