2008 Malegaon blast case: Accused to face trial under UAPA

After the order was passed Saturday, the accused sought a stay on it to appeal to the Bombay HC. While the court has not granted a stay, the accused have been given time till October 26 to appeal against the order.

The accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, including Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit and Pragya Singh, will face trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. A special court Saturday rejected their pleas on the applicability of the anti-terror law against them.

Last month, the court had begun hearing arguments by the accused on the validity of the sanction under the Act to prosecute them. The accused had claimed that the Bombay High Court had directed that ‘reasonable opportunity’ should be given to them before charges are framed. In December last year, a special court had said that while sections under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) should be dropped, the accused will face charges under UAPA and other sections of the Indian Penal Code including murder and criminal conspiracy.

During the last month, the court heard arguments from the accused — Pragya Singh Thakur, Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Sudhakar Chaturvedi — who objected to the validity of the sanction.

The National Investigation Agency, through special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal, had submitted that the sanction was valid and that charges under the anti-terror law applied in the case. The NIA, which had taken over the probe from the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, said that the issue of validity of the sanction can be decided by the court during the trial. Special Judge V S Padalkar accepted the NIA’s contention.

After the order was passed Saturday, the accused sought a stay on it to appeal to the Bombay HC. While the court has not granted a stay, the accused have been given time till October 26 to appeal against the order.

A blast had taken place in Malegaon town near Nashik on September 9, 2008, killing six persons and injuring 101.

Source: The Indian Express

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