In a major setback to the investigating authorities, a Mumbai
special court Friday ordered dropping of charges under the stringent
Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against Sadhvi
Pragnya Singh, Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit and nine other accused in
2008 Malegaon bomb blast case. The state government though has
decided to move to High Court against the verdict.
Designated Judge Y.B. Shinde who presided over the special court,
said none of the accused are part of the organised crime syndicate
and also no one had more than one chargesheet filed against him or
her for invoking provisions of MCOCA.
Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) had arrested 11 people, including the
Sadhvi in connection with the Sep 29, 2008 Malegaon blast which left
six dead and 20 injured. Among them was
Lieutenant-Colonel Purohit, the first
serving officer of the Indian
to be arrested in connection with a terror bomb attack who
had confessed to being
the Malegaon blast. The 37-year-old officer had reportedly told
police that he had mapped the conspiracy and provided the explosive
for the for the September 29 'revenge attack'.
MCOCA special court granted the relief on grounds that the
charge-sheet filed against one of the prime accused, Rakesh Dhawade
by the police in a matter pertaining to the Jalna court, was not
sustainable. Hence it dropped the MCOCA charges against the
accused," said advocate Ganesh Sovani, advocate for the Sadhvi.
State Government however obtained a stay on the execution of the
order and decided to appeal in the High Court.
government would approach the High Court over the issue," Arif
Naseem Khan, Minister of State for Home told the media.
The government "would seek justice for the Malegaon blast victims
and would challenge the ruling of the special court in the High
Court," the minister said.
"We have been given a four-week period to appeal and we will do so,"
Earlier, Additional Director General of Police (Anti-Terrorism
Squad) K.P. Raghuvanshi said, they would appeal against the MCOCA
court's judgement in the High court.
"The court has only said that MCOCA is not applicable in the case
and the certified copy of the order is still awaited," said
"We have also obtained a stay on the execution of the order and have
got four weeks to apply to the High Court challenging the order," he
Meanwhile, a petition filed by
Jamiatul Ulema in Supreme Court (SC) seeking review of MCOCA against
the Muslim youths who are in jail since 2006 in connection with the
2006 Malegaon blast is still waiting a judgment.