The first person booked by the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) in 2008, Sadhvi Pragya and three other accused got discharged under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. (File photo) Photograph:( Zee News Network )
In a partial relief to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and six others who face trial under an anti-terror law in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts case, the court dropped provisions under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against all the accused.
However, the court said the accused persons will face trial under sections 16 (committing a terror act) and 18 (criminal conspiracy) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), and sections 120(b) (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 326 (intentionally causing harm to others) of the IPC.
Dismissing her applications for discharge, the Special NIA court in its order said that Sadhvi Pragya cannot be exonerated of conspiracy charges as she was aware of the motorcycle was being used for this conspiracy.
The dropping of MCOCA charges is a big relief and we will fight the UAPA charges, said Aparna Purohit, wife of Col. Purohit.
Malegaon blasts case: Sadhvi Pragya ,Ramesh Upadhyay Ajay Rahikar, Lt Col Purohit discharged under MCOCA and 17, 20 and 13 of UAPA and arms act pic.twitter.com/xIAecCifwZ— ANI (@ANI) December 27, 2017
Apart from Sadhvi and Purohit, the accused who will now face trial in the case are: Sudhakar Dwivedi, retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Ajay Rahirkar.
Two accused - Jagdish Mhatre and Rakesh Dhawde - will face trial only under the Arms Act, the court said.
Malegaon blasts case: Sadhvi Pragya and Lt Col Purohit will be tried under UAPA section 18 and other charges of IPC— ANI (@ANI) December 27, 2017
The court has asked all the accused persons to appear before it on January 15 for the formal framing of charges against them.
Malegaon blasts case: All accused are already out on bail and will continue to be on bail, All previous bonds and sureties are to continue according to special NIA Court pic.twitter.com/iZnJPl1H8a— ANI (@ANI) December 27, 2017
Purohit and the another accused Sameer Kulkarni have been out on bail since August this year.
On September 29, 2008, there was a bomb explosion near Bhiku Chowk at Malegaon in Nashik district, killing six persons and injuring several others.
The blast took place by an improvised explosive device (IED) fitted upon an LML Freedom motorcycle.