Mumbai: A special court in Mumbai framed charges against Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and five others under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and several sections in the September 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case here on Tuesday.
2008 Malegaon blasts case: All seven accused charged for terror conspiracy, murder and other related offences. Court adjourns the matter till 2:45 pm-ANI
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Special judge Vinod Padalkar charged Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Sameer Kulkarni, Major (Retd.) Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Ajay Rahilkar and Sudhakar Chaturvedi with murder, abetment and conspiracy for the blast.
The court read out the order in open court in the presence of all accused in Hindi and said, “The Abhinav Bharat organisation was formed with the common object to spread terrorism and a bomb with RDX was planted on a motorcycle in Malegaon that killed six, injured 101 people and destroyed property.”
All the accused have been charged under sections in the Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and The Indian Explosives Substance Act. They have pleaded not guilty. Lt. Col Purohit addressed the court and said, “My integrity was never questioned and I never expected it to happen this way.”
Following the court’s order, Pragya said — “Earlier, the NIA had given me a clean chit. Now, charges have been framed against me. This was a conspiracy by Congress but I am confident that I’ll come out innocent as the truth always wins.”
On Monday, the Bombay high court had refused to stay framing of charges by the trial court against Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit and other accused persons.
The court is likely to begin recording of evidence and commence the trial on November 1, 2018.
Six people were killed and over 100 injured when an explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, a town about 200 km from Mumbai in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.
On December 27, 2017, the special NIA court had dismissed the pleas filed by Purohit, Thakur and the others seeking to be discharged from the case. At the time, the special court had dropped charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the accused, but said they will face charges under the UAPA and other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including murder and criminal conspiracy.
With PTI inputs