2008 Malegaon bomb blast case: Lt Col Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya, 5 others charged with criminal conspiracy and murder

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) special court in Mumbai on Tuesday charged Lt Col Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya and 5 others in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case for criminal conspiracy, murder and other offences. Apart from Col Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya, Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi, Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Sameer Kulkarni have also been charged.

Judge Vinod Padalkar, presiding over the NIA special court, framed charges against the accused persons, all of whom were present in the court. The court has fixed November 2 as the next date of hearing.

All the 7 accused have been charged with being part of a terror act, and under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) they have been charged with criminal conspiracy and murder.

Earlier, the Bombay high court had refused to stay framing of charges by the NIA court against the 7 accused. However, a 2-judge bench comprising of SS Shinde and AS Gadkari has agreed to hear a separate petition filed by Col Purohit challenging his prosecution under Unlawful Activites (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The bench had refused to stay the framing of charges saying that both the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court had directed the NIA court to expedite the hearing in the case. This petition will be heard on November 21.

MALEGAON BLAST CASE

6 persons were killed and more than a 100 were injured when an explosive strapped to a bike went off near a mosque in Malegaon on September 29, 2008.

Last year in December, NIA had dismissed the pleas filed by Purohit and others seeking discharge from the case. However, it dismissed charges under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the accused saying that they will face charges under the UAPA and IPC.

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