2008 Malegaon blasts: MCOCA charges dropped, Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Prasad Purohit to go to trial

Updated: Dec 28, 2017, 10:03 IST | A Correspondent

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and six others accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast will stand trial on stringent terror charges, a special NIA court yesterday ruled in the politically-sensitive case that had raised speculation

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur
Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and six others accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast will stand trial on stringent terror charges, a special NIA court yesterday ruled in the politically-sensitive case that had raised speculation of saffron militancy. The ruling left the National Investigation Agency red faced which had given clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya. Rejecting the pleas of the accused for discharge from the case, a special NIA court, however, dropped some sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against as well as Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the accused, which is punishable by up to life in prison.

Lt Col Prasad Purohit
Lt Col Prasad Purohit

Col Purohit's wife Aparna said, "I am speechless. It's a huge relief for me and my family. It seems that half our battle is over but we still have to struggle on a long journey. But it is a positive step. I have trust in the judiciary." Significantly, the court dismissed NIA's contention that there was no evidence against Sadhvi Pragya, saying it was difficult to accept the claim given that her motorcycle was used in the blast.

"There is evidence to suggest that the accused number one (Thakur) had knowledge about involvement of her motorcycle," the court said in its ruling on the nine-year-old case that had raised worries of Hindu militancy gaining a foothold as a reaction to Islamic extremism.

The NIA, while filing a charge sheet in the case last year, gave a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya and three others - Shyam Sahu, Praveen Takalki, Shivnarayan Kalsangra -saying it found no evidence against them and they should be discharged from the case. The court absolved only Sahu, Kalsangra and Takalki from all the charges leaving Thakur to face trial. Two others, Jagdish Mhatre and Rakesh Dhawde, will face trial only under the Arms Act "before concerned courts", the NIA court said.

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