Bombay HC refuses to stop framing of charges in Malegaon 2008 case

Mumbai, Sep 4 (IANS) The Bombay High Court on Tuesday declined to stay a lower court order for framing of charges in a case against Lt. Col. Srikant P. Purohit and 13 other accused in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blast.

Purohit had challenged the decision of the lower court in the high court, seeking a stay on the framing of charges on September 5, the critical pre-trial process in the case.

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On August 29, Special Judge Vinod Padalkar of the NIA Special Court had ruled that charges would be framed against Purohit and the remaining 13 accused in the Malegaon case.

Besides challenging the Special Court order, Purohit also sought a stay on the proceedings until the court finally decided on the applicability of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, under which all the 14 main accused, among them Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur, have been charged, besides provisions of the Indian Penal Code and other laws.

He also questioned the sanction granted by the Maharashtra government in January 2009, for his prosecution and the dismissal of his plea seeking a discharge from the case by the Special Court in December 2017.

The development came exactly 10 years after a powerful low-intensity bomb planted on a motorcycle ripped through a crowded Muslim-majority locality of Malegaon town in Nashik, on September 29, 2008, killing seven and injuring over 100 people.

Purohit, who was granted bail in 2017 after spending nine years in custody, is currently posted at the Military Station in Colaba, south Mumbai.

The 14 accused (including Purohit) are: a former Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur, a self-proclaimed seer, Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey, Rakesh Dhawde, Sameer Kulkarni, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Pravin Takalki, Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyam Sahu, Ajay Rahirkar, and Jagdish Mhatre, besides two absconders, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra.