A special court in Mumbai Friday directed all the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case to appear before the court once a week. The accused include Bhopal BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Prasad Purohit, and others. It said exemption sought without cogent reasons will be rejected.
The court also rejected an application filed by a victim’s father seeking Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) to depute officers to assist the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in court.
Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal, whose son Sayyed Azhar died in the 2008 Malegaon blast, had on Monday filed a plea before the court seeking directions to the Maharashtra ATS to assist the NIA in the ongoing trial. In the plea, Bilal, who is an intervener in the trial, had said that the ATS was not present during the trial proceedings to assist NIA’s special public prosecutor (SPP) despite having conducted the initial probe.
Previously Bilal had also urged the court to bar Pragya Thakur, one of the key accused in the case, from contesting the Lok Sabha elections since the trial is still in progress. In response to this, the NIA had said it had no comments to offer as the matter is related to the Election Commission. “NIA has no jurisdiction to say anything on this matter because the matter of contesting in elections is not related to this case. It is to be decided by the Election Commission only. Hence, no comments are offered,” it said.
Despite the special court in Mumbai rejecting its clean chit to Pragya Singh Thakur and framing charges against her in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, the NIA had told the court that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute Thakur.
Besides Purohit and Thakur, Major (retired) Ramesh Upadhyay, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi, Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Sameer Kulkarni are other accused in the case. They are all out on bail. In October last year, the court had framed charges against all the seven accused for terror activities, criminal conspiracy and murder, among others.
On September 29, 2008, six people were killed and over 100 injured when an explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, a town about 200 km from here in north Maharashtra.