An accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, Sameer Kulkarni, who is currently out on bail, sat on a hunger strike outside the Pune District Collectorate on Wednesday, demanding speedy trial of the case before the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Mumbai. However, he called off the hunger strike and left the site after meeting the district collector in the afternoon.
A resident of Chinchwad, Kulkarni has submitted letters to the Pune district collector’s office and at the Bundgarden police station, stating that he was sitting on a hunger strike from December 11 to seek justice without delay in this case.
In the letters, Kulkarni claimed that directions of the Supreme Court (SC) — that the trial in the blast case be conducted speedily and on a daily basis — were not being followed.
Around 9 am on Wednesday, Kulkarni put up a banner displaying his demands on the compound wall and sat alone outside the Pune District Collectorate on a hunger strike. But police told him that he can’t be allowed to go on a hunger strike at the site.
Senior Police Inspector Sunil Tambe of Bundgarden police station said, “We told Kulkarni that permission cannot be given to go on a hunger strike at the spot. We asked him to meet the district collector and submit his memorandum of demands.”
Kulkarni submitted a letter to District Collector Naval Kishore Ram and ended the hunger strike. “I have received Kulkarni’s letter. It is routine procedure that people visit me with their demands and I forward it to the concerned authorities,” Naval Kishore Ram told The Indian Express.
On September 30 this year, Kulkarni had said in a press conference in Pune that lawyers of the “high profile” co-accused in this case are “working in organised manner” to cause delays in the trial of this case, which is going on before a special NIA court in Mumbai.
A bomb blast in Malegaon in Nashik on September 29, 2008 had left at least 10 people dead and several others injured.
A Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad led by IPS officer Hemant Karkare had arrested a serving Indian Army officer, Lt Col Prasad Purohit, along with Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, who is now a BJP MP from Madhya Pradesh, Kulkarni and the others have been charged under sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for allegedly conspiring to carry out the bomb blast.