In a complete U-turn, the NIA today dropped all charges against Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and five others in the 2008 Malegaon blast case while charges under the stringent MCOCA law have been given up against all the other 10 accused including Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit.
During investigation, “sufficient evidences have not been found against” Pragya Singh Thakur and five others, the NIA said, adding it has submitted in the chargesheet “that the prosecution against them is not maintainable”.
Today’s development in the case, in which seven people were killed in twin blasts when people were coming out of prayers during Ramzan in September 29, 2008.
There have been a lot of twists and turns in the probe into the Malegaon blast which was described as a handiwork of people associated with Hindu right wing groups.
The case was investigated initially by Joint Commissioner of Mumbai’s ATS Hemant Karkare who was killed during the 26/11 Mumbai attack. Before the NIA took over the case in 2011, ATS had booked 16 people but filed charge sheets on January 20, 2009 and April 21, 2011 against 14 accused in a Mumbai court.
Purohit and Pragya had moved several applications before Bombay High Court and Supreme Court challenging the charge sheet and applicability of stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the case.
Shiv Narayan Kalsangra, Shyam Bhavarlal Sahu, Praveen Takkalki, Lokesh Sharma and Dhan Singh Choudhury are the other five accused against whom charges have been dropped besides Sadhvi.
The agency also said during investigation that it has been established that no offence is attracted in this case under the Maharashtra Control of Crimes Act (MCOCA), in which any statement given before a SP level officer is admissible as an evidence.