Parbhani masjid blast acquittals: Court doubted state’s intention in prosecuting the accused

By A Mirsab,

Mumbai: The complicity of public prosecutors, coupled with a lethargic attitude of the Maharashtra state in prosecuting the accused in 2003 Parbhani Masjid bomb blast case lead to the acquittal of all the accused, various orders of the previous judge recorded during the trial have shown.

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On November 21, 2003 a bomb exploded at Mohammadiya Masjid, Rehmat Nagar, Parbhani killing one person and injuring 34 others. Nearly 13 years later, on August 18, 2016 the session judge M S Jawalkar acquitted all four in the case sighting lack of evidences.

But if thirteen years later, lack of evidence is sighted as a reason, it begs the question: how well was the prosecution doing its job? When investigated into this aspect, it was revealed that in the orders passed prior to the judgment, it showed that the prosecution never showed any enthusiasm in ensuring that the accused are convicted; in fact many a times the prosecution irked the court by remaining absent during trial or by filing frivolous applications of adjournments with the aim of delaying the case.

What is even more questionable that the prosecution remained absent even on the date when six witnesses were present in the court for recording of evidences.
Such careless attitude in conducting trial had even earned Maharashtra state a punishment in terms of imposed fine of Rs. 12,000.

Following are some of the stern observations of court against prosecution that are safely recorded by the court :

While hearing and passing of an order over prosecution’s plea, Additional Session Judge M H Baig specifically noted on July 21, 2014 , “Neither the learned Special PP (Public prosecutor) nor the learned PP nor the two learned APPs who are on record for the prosecution, is present whenever called out repeatedly by taking this case for hearing/passing order in question”.

Again, on April 1, 2015 the court expressed its disappointment by recording, “It is worth noting that the prosecution is making a mockery of the court proceeding”. The court had to make a note of this when A.R.Kothikhane, the APP who was on court’s record produced before court an authority letter from V V Parakh, a special PP and tried to disown the responsibility of conducting trial while Parakh was also not in court to conduct the proceedings.

Going further when court discovered that prosecution did not make necessary arrangements for smooth conduct of the trial in last 45 days, despite a specific order to that effect, court was compelled to put a remark, “So for the stand taken today for and on behalf of the State is concerned, I am of the opinion that either there is a deliberate attempt on the part of the prosecution to derail the conduct of the trial in this very very old matter or that none is interested in going ahead with the trial.”

Anxiety of court increased due to such lethargic attitude shown by prosecution during trial and hence it again made its opinion public, “…on one hand the learned Special P.P is not attending the court on the dates of hearing in this matter for quite sometime and on the other hand those occasionally appearing from the cadre of APPs in this Sessions Division are, on one hand trying to place something on record without taking any responsibility for the same”.

In addition to this, while deciding one of the applications filed by Special PP the court said, “Due to such negative attitude on the part of the prosecution machinery, an entire schedule of a week for recording of evidence fixed giving time of more than 1½ months has collapsed.”

This remark was made by the court on June 20, 2015 adding further, “Now, having regards to nature of the case, involvement of one of the accused who is in jail for years together and the manner in which the prosecution is dragging its feet in not coming forward with evidence it wants to lead in the case, I am of the considered opinion that another chance be given to the prosecution to come out with evidence…”

Wanting evidences from prosecution to proceed in the case, court was compelled to advise prosecution on August 21, 2015, “It is also made clear that the prosecution is at liberty to produce any other witnesses on its own which are not already examined and which are named in the chargesheet as it is the primary duty of the prosecution to bring its own witnesses…”

The anger of court towards lackadaisical attitude of prosecution did not stop here. On September 14, 2015 the court ordered prosecution to submit cost of Rs. 12,000 to be distributed amongst four accused as none of the Public Prosecutor was present although the trial was scheduled for the examination of six witnesses, who were all present in court on the date.

Subsequently, on January 28, 2016 the Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court rejected Maharashtra state’s appeal against imposed fine and instead remarked, “While it should be the anxiety of the State to have speedy trial, it appears that the State is prolonging the matter.”


JUH blames Maharashtra state’s half-hearted prosecution for acquittal of accused in Parbhani masjid blast case