MCOCA charges against Malegaon suspects dropped

Delivering the order, designated judge Y B Shinde said none of the accused was part of an organised crime syndicate and also no one had more than one chargesheet filed against him or her for invoking the provisions of MCOCA.

MCOCA provisions can be applied only to members of an organised crime syndicate or if a person was faced with at least two chargesheets for his actions.

The judge, however, granted a four-week stay on the execution of the order to allow the prosecution to move the Bombay High Court for appeal.

ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi said the court order would be appealed in the Bombay High Court. He also pointed out that the special court had only dropped the MCOCA provisions and not the charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Maharashtra’s Minister of State for Home Naseem Khan also stated that the government  would appeal against the order.

Malegaon, a Muslim-majority powerloom town in Nasik district, was rocked on September 29, 2008, with a powerful blast of an explosive device strapped to an abandoned motorcycle in the heart of the township. Six persons were killed in the explosion.

Revenge attack

The blast was then suspected to be a revenge attack by some unidentified Hindu outfit to avenge a series of terror attacks on major cities like Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi, which had killed scores of people.

At that time, the ATS, working under the direction of then slain chief Hemant Karkare, had traced the motorbike to the sadhvi and claimed to have unravelled the entire conspiracy.

The conspiracy involved Lt Col Purohit, who was stationed in Nasik then and worked with Military Intelligence, a retired Army officer Major (retd) Ramesh Upadhyay and the Sadhvi’s spiritual guru Swami Amritanand, alias Dayanand Pandey.

It also implicated some members of a radical Hindu outfit “Abhinav Bharat”. A collector of antiques and arms expert Rakesh Dhawde, who was implicated in the blasts in Nanded and Poorna, was also arrested. All of them were slapped with MCOCA provisions. Earlier this year, the ATS filed a 4,000-page chargesheet against the 11 accused. The chargesheet named the Sadhvi, Col Purohit and Pandey as the key conspirators in the Malegaon blasts case. It stated that Pandey had instructed Col Purohit to arrange for the RDX while the Sadhvi owned the motorcycle used in the blast.

Ajay Rahirkar allegedly organised finances for the terror act while the conspiracy meetings were held at Bhonsala Military School in Nasik, the chargesheet alleged.

DH News Service

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