<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Supreme Court granting bail to Lt Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, the alleged main conspirator in 2008 Malegaon blast case, the spotlight is back on the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The bail was granted bail despite the NIA raising objection to it.On Monday, the top court said it was granting bail to Purohit because of contradiction in the charges filed by Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the NIA.The agency, however, remained tight-lipped over the matter. “We have nothing to say as our legal team has already made the agency’s stand clear,” said a senior NIA officer. He further said that the agency opposed the bail plea as Purohit is allegedly the “main conspirator” in the case.On part of the NIA, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh submitted before the apex court that prima facie there is sufficient material on record to prove Purohit’s involvement in the alleged offence. The NIA, which was handed over the Malegaon blast probe from the ATS, had given a clean chit to Pragya, but said the charges levelled against Purohit are of serious and grave nature.”Merely because the charges have been dropped under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 (MCOCA) Act, it does not mean that there is no material against the appellant in respect of other charges,” Singh said.He further reiterated that the NIA has given clean chit to accused Pragya Singh Thakur and some other accused, but has not exonerated Purohit from the charges which is a clear indication that the agency has sufficient material to implicate him.He also submitted that the offences alleged against Purohit as drawn by the Anti-Terror Squad are supplemented and supported by the NIA officers in their detailed investigation.”Having regard to the gravity and seriousness of the offence, which were in the nature of waging war against the unity and integrity of the nation, and, that too, by violent means, the bail application of the appellant could not have been allowed and it has rightly been rejected by the courts below and no interference is sought for by this court,” Singh said.The NIA is facing questions on its turnaround — by dropping charges against Thakur and five others in the case, while charges under the stringent MCOCA law have been given up against all the other 10 accused, including Purohit.During investigation, sufficient evidence was not found against Pragya and five others, the NIA said, adding it has submitted in the charge sheet “that the prosecution against them is not maintainable”.When & whatSept 29, 2008 At least six killed, 70 injured in blasts in a busy market in MalegaonOct 24, 2008 Police arrest 3 — Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Shiv Narayan Gopal Singh Kalsanghra and Shyam Bhawarlal SahuNov 5, 2008 Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad arrest Col Purohit for allegedly supplying money and explosivesJan 20, 2009 14 charge-sheeted by Maharashtra ATSJuly 31, 2009 Special MCOCA court drops charges against all 11 accusedJuly 19, 2010 Maharashtra ATS receives a major boost after the Bombay HC reinstates MCOCA against the 11 accusedApril 1, 2011 Investigation transferred to NIAApril 13, 2011 NIA takes over the case Sept 23, 2011 SC rejects bail plea of Sadhvi Pragnya ThakurApril 15, 2015 SC sets aside Bombay HC order, drops MCOCA chargesJune 24, 2015 Reports quote Special Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian as saying that NIA had instructed her to “go soft” on the accusedNov 7, 2015 MCOCA special court rejects bail application of Sadhvi Pragya ThakurFeb 2, 2016 NIA tells court it is of the opinion that stringent MCOCA was not applicableMay 13, 2016 NIA files second charge-sheet, drops charges against Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and three others Sept 26, 2016 Special NIA court rejects the bail of Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit on the grounds that the evidence cited have to be proved under Evidence Act.Nov 24, 2016 ATS pleads the court to allow the prosecution to lead with the secondary evidence, in the wake of some documents going missing.Dec 30, 2016 NIA tells special court that it will investigate claims that two of the accused, Ramchandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange, were killed in custody by Maharashtra ATS and bodies disposed of as victims of Mumbai terror attacksApril 25, 2017 Bombay HC grants bail to accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh, turns down bail plea of Colonel Purohit, holding the charges are of grave nature and prima facie true.May 3, 2017 Sadhvi Pragya approaches Session’s CourtMay 5, 2017 SC seeks reply from NIA on Purohit bail pleaMay 12, 2017 NIA informs Special NIA Court that it has no objection to the discharge application filed by SadhviAug 17, 2017 SC reserves verdict on Purohit bail plea.Aug 21, 2017 SC grants bail to Colonel Purohit.Compiled by DNA – Research N Archives

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Ample evidence against Col Purohit: NIA