Mumbai: Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya, accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, will not be charged under a tough law against organised crime.
A special National Investigating Agency (NIA) court has dropped charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), 1999, against six accused including Lt Col Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya.
The court said, “the UAPA sections 17 (raising funds for a terrorist organisation or a terrorist attack), 20 (being part of a terrorist organisation) and 23 (aiding somebody who is part of a terrorist organisation) have been dropped against all accused.”
This part of the ruling gives relief to saffron outfit Abhinav Bharat, which was accused by the Mumbai Police anti- terror squad of providing arms training to right-wing activists. The ATS also says Purhoit was linked to Abhinav Bharat.
Two bombs planted on a motorcycle exploded in on September 29, 2008, killing seven people and injuring over a 100 in Malegaon, a textile town in Maharashtra 270 km from Mumbai. Lt Col Purohit was among those arrested.
In August, Lt Col Purohit left prison after nine years after being granted bail by the Supreme Court.
The top court pointed out that there were “material contradictions” in charge-sheets filed by Maharashtra’s Anti-Terror Squad, which investigated the case first, and the National Investigation Agency, which took over in 2011.
Lt Col Purohit is accused of floating Abhinav Bharat, a right-wing group that allegedly planned and executed the blasts, and also of collecting huge funds and using them to procure arms and explosives and organising meetings where the Malegaon attack was planned. Lt Col Purohit appealed in the Supreme Court against a Bombay High Court order earlier this year, denying him bail. The High Court had granted bail then to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, who was also accused of plotting the Malegaon attack.