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Rediff News  All News  » News » Court acquits 4, convicts 2 in Thane blast

Court acquits 4, convicts 2 in Thane blast

August 29, 2011 20:17 IST

A sessions court on Monday convicted two members of Hindu right wing group Sanathan Sanstha for their complicity in a low intensity blast in suburban Thane three years ago in which eight people were injured, but acquitted four others for lack of evidence.

Judge N V Nhavkar convicted Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari and Vikram Vinay Bhave under Indian Penal Code sections 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous means), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and 427 (mischief causing damage to property).

The duo was also held guilty under sections 3 and 4 of Explosives Substances Act.

However, the court acquitted them of more serious charges of 307 IPC (attempt to Murder), 120(B) (criminal conspiracy) and various provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

"They have been convicted only on minor charges but acquitted from serious charges of 307 IPC (attempt to murder) and also under provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act," defence lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar said.

The offences for which they have been pronounced guilty attract punishment up to five years, he added.

The court, however, acquitted other accused Mangesh Nikam, Santosh Angre, Haribhau Divekar and Hemant Chalke for lack of evidence and prosecution's failure to prove the charges.

The judge is likely to pronounce the quantum of punishment to the convicts on Tuesday, prosecutor Rohini Salian said. A low intensity blast had occurred in Gadkari Rangayatan auditorium which left eight people injured in on June 4, 2008.

According to prosecution, the blast was carried out by the accused as they felt that Hindi movie Jodha Akbhar and Marathi play Ahmi PachPute lampooned Hindu gods and the epic Mahabharat.

The chargesheet alleged that the motorcycle, which blew off outside the auditorium, was registered in the name of another rightwing group Gurukripa Prathistan, linked to Sanatan Sanstha.

Investigation revealed that Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari had used the two-wheeler. After Gadkari's arrest, other accused, Mangesh Dinkar Nikam, Vikram Vinay Bhave, Santosh  Sitaram  Angre, Haribhau Krishna Divekar and Hemant Tukaram Chalke were taken into custody.

The police also claimed that timers were used in the blast.

According to the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad, which probed the blast, Gadkari and his accomplices had been planning to trigger an explosion in early 2008 for which they had purchased Gelatin sticks and electronic detonators.

The chargesheet also said that Gadkari and other accused Bhave had gone to Bihar to by country-made revolvers and cartridges and did firing practice and test blasts in forests.

The ATS said that the accused hatched the conspiracy at Panvel and Warsi in nearby Pen district. Gadkari, Nikam and Bhave were accused of making bombs. The prosecution had examined 105 witnesses to prove their case.