New Delhi: A special NIA court in Mumbai on Friday directed all accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case to be present in court at least once every week till the proceedings conclude. Those accused in the Malegaon blasts case are Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Prasad Purohit among others.

The court also expressed displeasure over their absence in the courtroom on Friday. The date of the next hearing has been set for May 20.

On September 29, 2008, at least six persons were killed and over at least 80 injured when a bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded outside a mosque in the Muslim-dominated Malegaon town in Nashik district. A dozen persons were arrested in the case by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and in early 2011, the case was handed over to the NIA. Among 12 prime accused, seven have been charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Indian Penal Code.

Besides Purohit and Thakur, the five other accused are ex-Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Dwivedi, Ajay Rahirkar, Sameer Kulkarni and Sudhakar Chaturvedi.

Sadhvi Pragya Thakur is the BJP candidate from the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency and has contested the election against Congress’ Digvijaya Singh in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Pragya who is currently out on bail has already spent nine years in jail for the Malegaon blasts. According to Sadhvi Pragya, her arrest in the Malegaon blast case was politically motivated to endorse the bogey of saffron terrorism, a term coined by the former Union minister P. Chidambaram.

On the other hand, Lt Col Purohit, accused of floating ‘Abhinav Bharat’ the group believed to have masterminded the attack, has been given bail by the Supreme Court in the case.

 

With IANS inputs