Malegaon: Purohit, Sadhvi & 5 more charged under UAPA

The 2008 Malegaon blast case accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur leaves the special NIA court after she was charged for terror conspiracy, murder, and other related offenses, in Mumbai, Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018. (PTI Photo/Shashank Parade)

Ten years after a bomb ripped through the communally-sensitive powerloom town of Malegaon,  a special NIA court on Tuesday framed charges against seven accused, including Indian Army officer Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sadhvi Pragyasingh Thakur. 

The charges were framed by additional sessions judge Vinod Padalkar, who presides over a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), section 16 (committing terrorist act) and 18 (conspiring to commit terrorist act) and under Indian Penal Code sections 120b (criminal conspiracy), 34 (common intention) 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 153 (a) (promoting enmity between two religious groups) among others. 

They were also charged under the provisions of Explosives Substances Act.

The Navratri-eve blast on September 29, 2008, had killed six and injured 101 people at Malegaon in Nashik district of Maharashtra.

The seven of the 12 accused who have been charged for terrorism are — Col Purohit, Sadhvi Pragyasingh Thakur, Sudhakar Dwivedi, a self-proclaimed shankaracharya, Major (retd) Ramesh Upadhyay, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Chaturvedi and  Sameer Kulkarni.

All the accused pleaded not guilty after the special judge read out the charges in the NIA court. 

“The Abhinav Bharat (organisation) was formed with the common objective of spreading terrorism and (for this purpose) a bomb with RDX was planted in a motorcycle in Malegaon,” the judge said. The accused came together, hatched a conspiracy and committed a terrorist act by way of the bomb blast.


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If convicted, they could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment or capital punishment. The judge fixed November 21 as the next date of hearing.

Earlier this month, the NIA court had rejected the pleas of the accused challenging the invoking of UAPA against them. However, Lt Col Purohit, a former military intelligence official, challenged the special court’s verdict in the Bombay High Court. On Monday, a division bench comprising Justice S S Shinde and Justice A S Gadkari declined to provide any relief to Lt Col Purohit.

Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sadhvi Pragyasingh Thakur rejected the charges. “No one can doubt my honesty, integrity and service record,” said Purohit, who is now attached to the Colaba Military Station.

Sadhvi Pragyasingh said she was wrongly framed. "Earlier, the NIA had given clean chit to me. Now, charges are framed against me. The case in itself was a conspiracy of the Congress. I am confident I will come out of it," she said.

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Malegaon: Purohit, Sadhvi & 5 more charged under UAPA

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