The state government has challenged the discharge of nine accused in Malegaon 2006 bomb blast case before the Bombay high court.
Public prosecutor Sandip Shinde on Friday informed the division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Amjad Sayed that the government had filed an appeal challenging the discharge of the accused.
Shinde was responding to a public interest litigation filed by journalist Ashish Khetan alleging that Muslims were being framed by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in cases of terrorist attacks. Khetan sought the intervention of the high court in the July 11, 2006 local train bombings, the 2006 Malegaon blasts case and the 2010 German Bakery bomb blast case. He alleged the ATS had created bogus evidence and extracted false confessions through torture.
On April 25, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court discharged nine arrested by the ATS in connection with the Malegaon blasts, observing that “they became scapegoats at the hands of the ATS.”
The accused were Noorul Huda Samsodhoha, Shabbir Masiullah, Raees Ahmad Mansuri, Dr. Farogh Magdumi, Shaikh Mohdmad Ali, Asif Khan, Mohd Zahid Abdul Majid, Abrar Ahmad and Dr Salman Aimi. Masiullah died long before the discharge order was passed.
The ATS had alleged that the accused were members of the banned organisation Students Islamic Movement of India and the conspiracy to carry out the blasts was ‘to ensure an explosion in such a manner, and on such an occasion, which would infuriate the Muslim community to commit communal riots and disturb the public order.’
In April 2011 when the case was transferred to the NIA, the agency purportedly found that the blast was the handiwork, not of this group, but a fanatic Hindu group.
The high court on Friday refused to entertain the PIL filed by Khetan, primarily as all three cases mentioned by him are now in court. As for the 7/11 train bombings, the high court noted that the trial was over. In the German Bakery blast case, the death sentence handed down to Himayat Baig by the high court was converted to life imprisonment.
As the government has filed an appeal in the third case – challenging the discharge of the nine accused in the Malegaon blasts - the judges felt that it would be improper to examine the allegations of the petitioner.