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Court drops MCOCA against Malegaon blast accused, Govt. to appeal in HC

Saturday, August 01, 2009 09:28:56 AM, Agencies

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Mumbai: 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.


The 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 Army to be arrested in connection with a terror bomb attack who had confessed to being mastermind of 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'.


"The 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.


The State Government however obtained a stay on the execution of the order and decided to appeal in the High Court.


"The 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," he said.

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 Raghuvanshi.

"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 said.


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.






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