2008 Malegaon blast case: NIA court charges Pragya Singh, Prasad Purohit and five others with terror conspiracy, murder

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) special court charged all seven persons accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case with terror conspiracy, murder and other related offences, ANI reported. The seven accused, Lt Colonel Prasad Purohit, Pragya Singh Thakur, Major (retd) Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Sudhakar Chaturvedi pleaded not guilty after framing of charges.

The court has set the next date of hearing on 2 November.

Responding to media queries, Purohit said that he will appeal in the Supreme Court. ANI quoted Pragya Singh Thakur saying: “Earlier, the NIA had given me a clean chit. Now, charges have been framed against me. This was a conspiracy by Congress but I am confident that I will come out innocent as the truth always wins.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the NIA court had rejected Malegaon blast case accused Lt Colonel Prasad Purohit’s plea of deferring the framing of charges, ANI had reported. The court also said that if the charges are ready, the court will frame the charges today (that is Tuesday 30 October 2018) itself. Previously, Purohit’s lawyer had filed an application in the NIA court, which is the trial court in this case, seeking an adjournment of the framing of charges as Purohit was to appeal in the Supreme Court against Bombay High Court’s order refusing to stay framing of charges.

The Bombay High Court on Monday refused to stay framing of charges by the trial court against Purohit and other accused persons in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case.

A bench of Justices SS Shinde and AS Gadkari, however, agreed to hear next month, a petition filed by Purohit, one of the seven accused in the case, challenging his prosecution under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

It directed the NIA counsel Sandesh Patil to file a reply to Purohit’s plea by 21 November which is the next date of hearing.

The bench refused Purohit’s request for staying the proceedings in the trial court, noting that in the past, both the Supreme Court and the Bombay HC had passed orders directing the trial court to expedite the hearing in the case.

Framing of charges is a process after which the trial in a criminal case starts.

Six persons were killed and over a 100 injured when an explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, a power loom town located about 200 km from here in North Maharashtra, on 29 September, 2008.

File image of Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit. PTI

File image of Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit.