For the second time in a week, a central investigating agency has managed to goof up and weaken its own case. After the CBI failed to file the chargesheet in the Adarsh society scam within the stipulated 60 days’ period last week, enabling seven of the accused to get bail, now the National Investigating Agency (NIA) has made a mistake while filing the charge sheet in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.
The NIA failed to file a chargesheet against Lokesh Sharma, a key accused, within the stipulated period of 90 days. This enables him to get bail by default.
The NIA arrested Sharma, an accused in the Samjhauta blast case, for his alleged involvement in the 2008 Malegaon blast on February 27. The agency, which is investigating all cases with possible connections to radical Hindu outfits, believes that Sharma played an important role in the 2008 Malegaon blast.
The 90-period after his arrest lapsed on May 28.
On May 28, the issue was raised and the court observed that the NIA has neither sought for Sharma’s remand nor asked for extension to file the chargesheet. It said Sharma is eligible to apply for default bail.
The court then directed the jail authority to inform Sharma of his right to move for bail. Sharma is lodged in Hyderabad because of his alleged involvement in the Mecca Masjid blast.
Confirming the development, Rohini Salian, special public prosecutor for NIA, said: “The agency has not yet filed the chargesheet against Sharma.”
While seeking Sharma’s custody in the Malegaon blast case, the NIA claimed that Kamal Chauhan, another accused in Samjhauta blast case, had revealed Sharma’s involvement during interrogation.
The NIA is looking at terror cases that have alleged connections to right-wing Hindu outfits, including the 2006 and 2008 Malegaon blasts, the Ajmer (Rajasthan), Mecca Masjid (Hyderabad) and Samjhauta train blasts.
Sharma, a close associate of Sunil Joshi, the supposed mastermind behind the blasts who was murdered later, allegedly planted the bomb on Samjhauta Express.
Sharma was first arrested on June 17, 2010, for the Ajmer blast.