New Delhi Dec 27: Sadhvi Pragya and Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, would now be tried under sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Indian Penal Code (IPC) as a National Investigation Court (NIA) court on Wednesday dropped charges under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against them. The special court also dropped MCOCA charges against other accused – Ramesh Upadhyay and Ajay Rahikar. Also Read - 'Refrain From Making Controversial Statement,' BJP Pulls up Pragya Thakur Over 'Maarak Shakti' Remark
All accused are already out on bail. (Also Read: 2008 Malegaon blast: Bombay HC grants bail to Sadhvi Pragya) Also Read - Bhopal Lok Sabha Election Result 2019: Sadhvi Pragya Leads, Seat Likely to Remain With BJP?
The special NIA court in its order said that Sadhvi Pragya cannot be exonerated of conspiracy charges as she was aware about the motorcycle being used in the blast. Also Read - Malegaon Blasts: NIA Court Orders Pragya Thakur, Other Accused to Appear in Court Once a Week
Earlier on Monday, the court dismissed the pleas filed by accused Lt Purohit and Sameer Kulkarni, challenging their prosecution. The petitions were filed by the accused, challenging the sanction of prosecution under provisions of the UAPA.
Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008 at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nashik district of north Maharashtra. A special MCOCA court had earlier ruled that the ATS had wrongly applied this law against Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Purohit and nine others.
The Supreme Court had granted bail to Lt. Col. Purohit in August. Purohit had told the apex court that he has been caught in the “political crossfire” and languishing in jail for nine years. Purohit had moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court’s order dismissing his bail plea.(Also Read: Malegaon Blast Accused Lt Col Purohit Walks Out of Jail After 9 Years)
The 4,000-page charge sheet had alleged that Malegaon was selected as the blast target because of a sizeable Muslim population there. It had named Thakur, Purohit and co-accused, Swami Dayanand Pandey as the key conspirators. However, Thakur was last year given clean chit by the NIA.