2008 Malegaon blast case: NIA mulling dropping MCOCA charges
Special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal told the court that law officers supervising the case have questioned the applicability of the charges under MCOCA in the case.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is reconsidering validity of the charges slapped under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, a Mumbai court was told on Tuesday.
Special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal told the court that law officers supervising the case have questioned the applicability of charges under MCOCA in the case.
Last year, the high-profile case took a new turn after former special public prosecutor of NIA Rohini Salian alleged that an officer of the agency had asked her to “go soft” after the NDA government came to power in 2014, which the opposition said was an attempt to dilute the cases against the 11 accused including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and then serving Army officer Lt Col Prasad Purohit.
Six persons were killed and more than 100 injured when a bomb mounted on a motorcycle went off on September 29, 2008, in Malegaon. The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad had later arrested 11 persons for their alleged roles in the blasts.
In January 2009, the ATS filed charge sheet against all the accused under MCOCA. However, in 2011, all the terror cases where right-wing groups were allegedly involved were transferred to the NIA.
On Tuesday, the prosecution moved an application for adjournment at the special court which was to frame charges in the case.
In the application, the prosecuting agency said that investigating officers and law officers working have raised objections to the validity of the application of MCOCA to the entire case.
It was stated that officers of the NIA have placed the issue before the Attorney General for an opinion on the issue.
The special public prosecutor contended that as the charges are under consideration, it would be proper to adjourn the case till decision is taken on the issue.
The case was posted for next hearing on February 15.