Malegaon blast: NIA seeks more time for arguments on charges

NIA today sought more time from a Special Court to submit arguments on framing charges against the accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, saying they were still awaiting a reply from Attorney General on whether the stringent MCOCA should be applied in the matter.

“We are still awaiting a reply from Attorney General of India on whether Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) should be applied in the case. Hence, we have asked for more time to submit arguments (on framing charges),” Special Public Prosecutor Avinash Rasal said.

“We also need time because charges will be framed after going through a chargesheet filed earlier by Maharashtra ATS ,” he said.

Reserving its order on National Investigation Agency (NIA)’s plea, the MCOCA Court asked the defence to start its arguments first.

The matter will come up for further hearing on February 17.

Twelve persons, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit are in jail in connection with the blast at Malegaon, a predominantly Muslim town in North Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008. Six persons were killed and 100 others injured in the explosion.

The accused have been booked under stringent MCOCA, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and IPC.

ATS filed a chargesheet in 2009 but the case was later handed over to NIA, the top anti-terror agency.

Following a Supreme Court order, a Special Court has been constituted to hear the case. Sadhvi is also an accused in a case related to the murder of RSS activist Sunil Joshi in Madhya Pradesh.