Malegaon 2008 case: Terror charges framed against 7 accused

Mumbai: A Special NIA Court here on Tuesday framed terror charges against Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit, Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur and five others in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.

Among 12 prime accused, the seven have been charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Indian Penal Code.

Besides Purohit and Thakur, the five other accused are: ex-Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Dwivedi, Ajay Rahirkar, Sameer Kulkarni and Sudhakar Chaturvedi.

In the presence of all the seven accused, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court Special Judge Vinod Padalkar charged them under the UAPA, IPC for terror and criminal conspiracy and murder.

Earlier this month, Special Judge Padalkar had rejected the pleas of the accused challenging the invoking of UAPA provisions against them, but Purohit appealed against the order in the Bombay High Court.

On Monday, Justice S.S. Shinde and Justice A.S. Gadkari of the Bombay High Court declined to grant any relief to Purohit.

The judges said they were not inclined to grant a stay on the framing of terror charges against the accused, but posted his plea against the Special NIA Court’s ruling for hearing on Nov. 21.

On September 29, 2008, at least six persons were killed and over a 100 injured when a bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded outside a mosque in the Muslim-dominated Malegaon town in Nashik district.

A dozen persons were arrested in the case by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and in early 2011, the case was handed over to the NIA.

The other accused facing lesser charges are: Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyamlal Sahu, Rakesh Dhawade, Jagdish Mhatre and Pravin Mutalik.