Bombay HC upholds acquittal of 6 accused in 2009 Goa blast case
All the accused were said to be related to a right-wing Hindu organisation, Sanatan Sanstha.Updated: Sep 19, 2020, 14:14 IST
The Bombay high court at Goa has upheld the acquittal of the six persons charged with procuring, assembling and transporting a bomb to Margao in South Goa, where it prematurely exploded killing two persons who were allegedly ferrying it on the eve of Diwali in 2009.
The two deceased -- Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik -- were allegedly carrying the bomb in their scooter with the intent to place it at a site where a Diwali eve competition was being held on October 16, 2009. Besides Patil and Naik, who died while ferrying the bomb, no one else was injured in the blast that took place behind Grace Church in Margao.
Besides Patil and Naik, six others were charged by the NIA including Vinay Talekar, Dhananjay Ashtekar, Prashant Ashtekar, Vinayak Patil, Prashant Juvekar and Dilip Mazgaonkar, all hailing from Maharashtra and with connections to the Sanatan Sanstha. They were charged by the Goa Police crime branch. The case was later handed over to the National Investigation Agency.
“Today the HC has passed a judgement [in the] appeal filed by the NIA challenging the judgement passed by a special judge acquitting the accused in the blast case. The High Court has considered [the case] in larger detail [and has] now held that the benefit of doubt is given,” Advocate for the NIA Pravin Faldessai, said.
“The special judge had said that there were malafides (bad faith) by the investigating agency... those remarks are now expunged,” he added.
A total eleven persons were named as accused in the case including the two who died when the bomb exploded prematurely. Besides Naik, who died, all the others hailed from Maharashtra and were associated with the Sanatan Sanstha, a far-right organisation accused of organising the bomb blast with the motive to disrupt the Narakasur celebrations that are held on the eve of Diwali. Three accused are absconding. Only six accused faced trial.
On the day prior to Diwali, giant effigies of the demon king Narakasur, are erected with pomp and loud music before they are consigned to flames in the wee hours to signify the victory of good over evil.
“We had to prove that this particular Sanstha had the motive to conduct this blast so that there is an (environment of) terror formed in the state of Goa and in the Union of India, but the court said that there (was) no proof and there is no strong proof that we could submit before the court,” Faldessai added.
“What we had produced before the special judge was that their intention was to stop this competition not because they didn’t want competition at all, but that their intention was that Lord Krishna should be given more importance and not Narakasur,” Faldessai said.
“Their thing was that Hindu Sanskriti has to be protected and Diwali has to be celebrated in a better manner and not in Narakasur competitions etc,” he said.