The LML Freedom motorcycle, allegedly used to plant explosives for a blast in Malegaon that killed six persons and injured 101 on September 29, 2008, made its first appearance before the trial court Monday.
Registered in the name of accused Pragya Singh Thakur, who is out on bail and has since been elected BJP MP from Bhopal, the motorcycle was found in a damaged condition at the blast site.
The witness, who had conducted the spot panchnama, identified two motorcycles — an LML Freedom and a Honda Unicorn — and five bicycles shown to him Monday as the same that he had seen at the blast site in 2008.
Part of the muddemal or articles which form evidence in a trial, the two motorcycles and five bicycles, seized from the blast site at Bhiku chowk in Malegaon, were examined by the Forensic Science Laboratory and later sent to the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) which had investigated the case earlier.
Due to lack of space in the Mumbai court, the motorcycle was sent to the Kalachowkie unit of the ATS. On Monday, the muddemal was brought before the court in a tempo. As the bicycles and motorcycles could not be taken to the court room on the fifth floor, the court directed the prosecution and defence advocates to examine it on the ground floor of the court. Special Judge V S Padalkar also examined the muddemal.
The rusty bicycles, covered with jute bags, were first shown to the witness. After identification, the witness was asked to identify the LML Freedom. The witness climbed onto the tempo and identified the vehicle. The judge also climbed onto the tempo to examine the vehicles.
It was observed by the court that the rear part of the LML Freedom was kept in a separate gunny bag. Of the front part, the petrol tank was damaged and the headlight and its guard were also damaged. The headlight guard with Freedom written on it was part of the muddemal. The witness identified the two motorcycles and told the court that the LML was ‘silver-golden coloured’.
During his deposition last month, the witness had recalled that police had shown him the LML Freedom motorcycle which had the registration number MH 15 P 4572. Thakur was the first ATS arrest in the case in October 2008, based on the registration of the motorcycle. The NIA, which took over the probe and filed a supplementary chargesheet in 2016, said Thakur had not been using the vehicle for over two years. It gave her a clean chit.
The court, however, rejected this claim stating that the motorcycle stood in her name in the RTO record and it was a
matter of trial to prove whether she had a connection with it being used in the blast.
After examination, everyone returned to the court room. During his examination-in-chief by special public prosecutor, Avinash Rasal, the witness told the court that he had identified the properties. During cross-examination by Thakur’s lawyer, J P Mishra, the witness told the court that while he did not know how a panchnama was conducted, he had told police what he had seen at the spot. The cross-examination will continue Tuesday. The muddemal was returned to the ATS office.