Court orders dropping of MCOCA charges against Malegaon blast accused


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 all the 11 accused, including Sadhvi Pragnya Thakur, in last year’s Malegaon bomb blast case.

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“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.

According to Sovani, now the matter is likely to be transferred back to the Nashik court since the MCOCA court would cease to have jurisdiction over the case.

“However, it is too early to say now whether the accused would be granted bail or not,” Sovani told IANS shortly after the hearing in the case Friday evening.

The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), Mumbai, had arrested 11 people, including the Sadhvi in connection with the Sep 29, 2008 Malegaon blast which left six dead and 20 injured.

The prominent accused include Sadhvi Pragnya Chandrapal Singh Thakur, alias Purna Chetnanandagiri; Lt.Col. Prasad S. Purohit, a serving Indian Army officer who helped to procure RDX for the blasts; retired Indian Army major Ramesh Upadhyaya, who allegedly trained the conspirators in bomb making techniques; Shymlal Sahu, owner of a mobile phone shop in Bhopal, who allegedly planted the bomb and Rakesh Dhawade, a Pune-based weapons expert, who is accused of helping the conspirators procure weapons.