HC rejects Saquib Nachan's plea for discharge in blast cases

The Bombay High Court has rejected the discharge plea of Saquib Nachan, a former secretary of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) who is an accused in three bomb blast cases, observing there is enough evidence against him.

A division bench of Justices V L Achliya and Naresh Patil yesterday dismissed Nachan's appeal against the special POTA court's order rejecting his petition for discharge from the cases related to the blasts at Mumbai Central, Vile Parle and Mulund railway stations here.

These blasts had occurred between December 6, 2002 and March 13, 2003, in which 12 persons were killed and 127 seriously injured.

The trial court had also rejected Nachan's challenge to application of Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). The HC upheld this ruling too.

However, noting that the blasts had taken place over a decade ago and it was the right of every accused to be put on trial within a reasonable time, the High Court directed the POTA court to complete his trial within six months.

"We find that there is sufficient material on record to frame charge against the appellant," said the High Court.

"Considering the material collected by prosecution in respect of the accused, it can be observed that a case is made out to proceed against him."

Prosecutor Purnima Kantharia argued the probe showed Nachan was the brain behind the blasts and he was in touch with other accused. She also said two Pakistani terrorists were gunned down in Mumbai on March 29, 2003, and some arms, Rs 4 lakh cash and a diary were seized. The diary named Nachan as their Indian associate.

Nachan had argued the material submitted by the prosecution did not indicate his direct involvement and he had been framed.

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