The Special MCOCA court hearing the 2008 Malegaon blast case has asked the National Investigating Agency (NIA) to complete its investigation as early as possible.
The special court set up only for the case, was hearing the bail application of the four accused — Lt Col Purohit, Retd. Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Rakesh Dhawde.
While rejecting the bail application, the court observed “the Apex court has directed to expedite the trial in the case… the NIA is expected to complete its investigation as soon as possible.”
On September 29, 2008, a bomb attached to a motorcycle went off in Malegaon killing six people and injuring 101. The investigation of the blast was taken over by the anti-terrorist squad (ATS) of the Maharashta state police. The agency arrested 11 people for their alleged roles in the blasts in October and November 2008, which included Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and serving army officer Lt Col Purohit.
A few months later in January 2009, the ATS filed a charge sheet against all the accused under the MCOCA. However, two years later in 2011, all the terror cases where saffron groups were found to be involved, were transferred to the NIA.
“After filing the charge sheet on January 2009, the NIA (New Delhi) started investigation. Accordingly on April 13, 2011, the NIA re-registered the FIR in respect of the said crime. It is an admitted fact that till today, the NIA has not completed the investigation and filed a report,” reads the order.
The accused had, while seeking bail, raised the contention of delay on part of the NIA to investigate the case. The accused had pleaded the NIA has till now not filed a charge sheet and the accused are in jail for more than seven years. The court, however, rejected the contentions raised by the defense advocate stating that issues like delays cannot be accepted as grounds to grant bail.