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Charges filed against 11 accused of Malegaon blast

Source: PTI
Last updated on: January 20, 2009 17:29 IST
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The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad on Tuesday filed a charge sheet against 11 people, including a serving army official and a sadhvi, for the 2007 Malegaon blasts, which killed seven people.

Special MCOCA Judge Y D Shinde granted permission to the ATS to file the charge sheet, which was over 4,000 pages, against all the eleven accused.

However, the court said it will take cognisance of the charge sheet only after it passes an order on Wednesday on the validity of the application of the sections of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

Defence counsels Mahesh Jethmalani and Shrikant Shivade, who were appearing for two of the accused, said the application of MCOCA on their clients was incorrect.

The court should first evaluate if the application of the provisions of the MCOCA against the accused is appropriate and only then take cognisance of the charge sheet, defence counsel Shrikant Shivade, said.

Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian argued that the provisions of MCOCA had been applied correctly and the court could take cognisance of the charge sheet.

The charge sheet filed against the eleven accused includes charges against them under sections of the MCOCA, Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Arms Act and Explosive Substances Act.

A bomb strapped to a motorcycle had exploded in Bhiku Chowk are of Malegaon on September 29 last killing seven and injuring more than 70.

The probe by the ATS had revealed the involvement of members of right wing organisation 'Abhinav Bharat' in carrying out the blast.

The ATS invoked MCOCA on the accused, who are presently in judicial custody, on November 21.

Investigations in the case are not over despite the filing of the charge sheet, with the ATS still on the lookout for at least three persons who allegedly planted the bomb.

The eleven people named in the ATS charge sheet are Military Intelligence officer Lt Colonel P S Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, religious leader Dayanand Pandey alias Swami Amritanand, Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Sham Sahu, former army official Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Rakesh Dhawde, Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Jagdish Mhatre.

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