Bombay HC questions validity of NIA charge sheet in 2006 Malegaon blast case
NIA defended its charge sheet saying it is based on evidence gathered during its probe, where it concluded that the blasts were carried out by a Hindu group.mumbai Updated: Dec 15, 2017 00:30 IST
The Bombay high court on Thursday questioned the validity of the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) decision to drop charges against14 Muslims (nine arrested and five wanted) booked in connection with the 2006 Malegaon bomb blast case, and book four purported Hindu extremists instead.
“How can you name these four persons, when two competent agencies (Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad and the Central Bureau of Investigation) have not said anything about them in their charge sheets,” the division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice NW Sambre asked the NIA. The bench was hearing a petition filed by ATS challenging the NIA special court’s April 2017 decision to discharge all the accused booked by ATS and bail pleas of the four arrested by the NIA.
The comment came after a lawyer of one of the accused arrested by the NIA, pointed out that the ATS had conducted a detailed investigation into the case, arrested 9 persons, recorded some of their confessions and filed the charge sheet. Subsequently, the CBI had confirmed the findings. Besides, the Supreme Court had upheld the application of stringent provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the case. Despite all this, the NIA filed its own charge sheet, with completely different conclusions.Against this backdrop, the judges sought to know, as to how there could be two different charge sheets.
NIA defended its charge sheet saying it is based on evidence gathered during its probe, where it concluded that the blasts were carried out by a Hindu group. It cited the statement of RSS member Swami Aseemanand, an accused in the Mecca Masjid blast, where he said in 2010, that “the 2006 Malegaon blast was the handiwork of late RSS Pracharak Sunil Joshi’s boys”.
NIA’s probe revealed that Manohar Nawaria, Rajendra Chaudhary, Dhan Singh, Shiv Singh, Sunil Joshi, Ramchandra Kalsangra, Ramesh Mahalkar, Sandeep Dange, and others, had conspired to commit terrorist acts at various places in India, specifically in Malegaon.
NIA also said that ATS’ claim, that accused Mohammad Jahid Ansari planted the bomb at Malegaon on September 8, 2006, was wrong. It claimed Ansari was in Yavatmal on that day. It also claimed Shabbir Batterywala, who allegedly supplied the explosives, was in judicial custody from August to September 2006.