MCOCA dropped against Sadhvi, Purohit
The special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Friday dropped the stringent MCOCA Act from the 2008 Malegaon blast case. The court was hearing a bail application of accused Lt Col. Shrikant Purohit, Rakesh Dhawde and Ajay Rahirkar. HT reports. See graphicsindia Updated: Aug 01, 2009 09:53 IST
The special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Friday dropped the stringent MCOCA Act from the 2008 Malegaon blast case.
<b1>The court was hearing a bail application of accused Lt Col. Shrikant Purohit, Rakesh Dhawde and Ajay Rahirkar. The application challenged applicability of MCOCA in the case.
The court’s decision came as a setback to the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Mumbai police which is probing the case.
The MCOCA court has, however, stayed implementation of its order so that the prosecution can appeal in high court.
If the high court upholds the MCOCA court’s order, the case will be transferred to the Nashik sessions court. Also, the court rejected the bail applications of Purohit, Dhawade and Rahirkar.
“We had sought bail as the necessary ingredients of MCOCA were not being met,” said Purohit’s lawyer Shrikant Shivde. “First, it was not an organised crime syndicate. Besides, to apply MCOCA there should be at least two chargesheets against an accused prior to commission of the crime for which s/he has been arrested.”
Shivde added that there were no pecuniary gains from the offence, another criterion to apply the Act.
The defence had argued that there were two chargesheets against the accused, Rakesh Dhawade, for his alleged role in blasts in Parbhani and Jalna in 2003 and 2004 respectively.
However, the defence said these chargesheets were filed only after Dhawade was arrested in the Malegaon blasts case.
“Last month, the MCOCA court rejected the bail plea of Sadhvi Pragya, Shivnarayan Kalasangra and Shyamlal Sahu who had claimed they were entitled to bail since the ATS had failed to file its chargesheet within the 90-day period as mandated by MCOCA provisions,” Special Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian told Hindustan Times.
Salian said they had sought a stay on the order from the MCOCA court from the case being transferred to the Nashik sessions court. “We are awaiting the detailed order copy. We will then approach the Bombay High Court,” she said.
Six people were killed and 101 injured when a powerful bomb ripped through the crowded Anjuman Chowk in Malegaon on September 29, 2008. The ATS later found the RDX-laden bomb was planted on a motorcycle belonging to a religious figure from Indore – Sadhvi Pragyasingh Thakur.
The bomb was planted in a locality populated mainly by Muslims and also aimed to spark communal tensions.