The Special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in its detailed order copy, talking about stringent Maharahstra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) charges being dropped against the accused arrested in the Malegaon 2008 case has pointed out how Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) used the accused Rakesh Dhawade to invoke MCOCA charges in the case. The court, in its 130-page order copy mentioned that though Abhinav Bharat was not existent in 2003-2004, even then Dhawade was shown as a member of Abhinav Bharat and was dragged into the case.The court on Wednesday dropped the stringent MCOCA charges off all the accused and held them guilty of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Meanwhile Dhawade and one more accused were let off from the MCOCA charges and were only charged with the Arms act case. While three more accused were totally let off from the charges, whereas accused like Sadhavi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt.Col. Prasad Purohit were charged with UAPA and other IPC charges.The court held that according to the ATS, Dhawade was involved in the bomb blasts at Parbhani in Mohamadiya Masjid which took place on November 21,2003 and the blast in Kadariya Masjid at Jalna which took place on August 27,2004. ATS claimed that Dhawade was the member of the Abhinav Bharat, the crime syndicate and that there was a prima facie evidence against him.”However it is to be noted that Dhawade was never ever arrested in the case anytime earlier, nor was he ever shown absconding or wanted by the ATS when the agency had charge sheeted other accused in the Jalna and Parbhani matters. However suddenly after Dhawade was arrested in the Malegaon 2008 blasts case on November 2,2008, he was immediately implicated in Jalna and Parbhani matters,” the order copy stated.”It appears from the recitals in the charge sheet in both cases that according to the prosecution the accused who were arrested and chargesheeted in those offences were connected with either Bajrang Dal or RSS.SIGH OF RELIEFATS claimed that Dhawade was the member of the Abhinav Bharat Dhawade and one more accused were let off from the MCOCA charges and were only charged with the Arms Act case.
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The special National Investigating Agency (NIA) court on Wednesday dropped the stringent MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999) charges against 2008 Malegaon Blasts accused Sadhavi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col. Prasad Purohit, as well as four other. Instead, it charged them under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).According to the prosecution, Purohit and other accused had carried out the blast in Malegaon during Ramadan on September 29, 2008, which killed seven people. The court refused to accept NIA’s contention that there wasn’t sufficient material to hold up the chargesagainst Thakur. NIA had earlier given her clean chit while replying to her bail application in the Bombay High court. The court presided by Judge S D Tekale was hearing discharge applications filed by the accused in the case. In its final orders, Pragya Thakur, Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Lt.col.Prasad Purohit, Sudhakar Dhar Diwedi and Sudhakar Chaturvedi were discharged of the MCOCA charges, and will now be tried only under UAPA and the IPC.The court also granted a clean chit to three accused – Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyam Sahu and Praveen Takalki. Two others — Rakesh Dhawade and Jagdish Mhatre – were also let off from all stringent acts andinstead were charged under the Arms Act.The court said there is no proof to substantiate the claim that one of the accused Dhawade was involved in the Jalna and Parbhani Mosque blast case which took place in 2003-2004, . “The Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) had earlier claimed that the accused were members of the Abhinav Bharat, a right-wing Hindu organisation, and had conspired to execute blasts in mosques in Jalna and Parbhani. However, there is nothing to substantiate that Abhinav Bharat was in existence then. There is also no material to show that during that period, Dhawade had any connection with the rest of the Malegaon 2008 blast case accused. In such circumstances, it cannot be said that accused committed the act in Parbhani and Jalna as a member of Abhinav Bharat. Hence MCOCA cannot be applied to them,” held the court.Speaking about Pragya’s role in the blast, the court held, “Considering all evidence at this stage, it can be said that Thakur had knowledge about the involvement of her motorcycle in the blast and (she expressed)dissatisfaction about causing fewer casualties. Hence it is difficult to accept submission on behalf of Thakur that she had no concern with the present crime as she had been exonerated by NIA.”The verdict came as a relief to Purohit’s wife, Aparna. “Due to the MCOCA, he (Purohit) had to spend nine years in jail. We are happy that finally those charges have been dropped,” she said. “We will fight out the rest of the charges the way we have been fighting since day one. Dropping MCOCA is a small step towards justice, but there’s still a long way to go.”The timeline Sept 29, 2008 Six killed & over 70 injured in bomb blasts in MalegaonOct 24, 2008 Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and 2 others arrestedNov 5, 2008 ATS arrests Lt Col Prasad Purohit for supplying money & explosivesJuly 31, 2009 Special MCOCA court drops charges against all 11 accused. Bom HC reinstates them in 2010
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After the special NIA court dropped MCOCA charges against 2008 Malegaon blast case accused Lt Col Prasad Purohit, his wife Aparna stated that decision has come as a huge relief for Purohit family. “Due to the MCOCA, he (Purohit) had to spent nine years in jail. Now we are happy that finally the MCOCA charges are dropped,” Aparna told DNA. Though the court has dropped MCOCA charges, he along with other accused will face trial under section 16 and 18 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and 120b, 302, 307 and 326 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Speaking to DNA on Wednesday after the charges framed against six accused including Purohit, Aparna said, “We will fight it out the way we have been fighting the case since day one. After the charges of MCOCA have been dropped, we consider it as a small step towards justice but still there is a long way to go.”Aparna who has been making rounds of various courts right from sessions court to the Supreme Court stated that she was never low on confidence even on the day one of Purohit’s arrest and now since the MCOCA charges have been dropped, that will boost her confidence even more. “I know my husband is innocent. We are a family of army personnel and therefore we were never short on confidence. We know hot to fight and that is what we have been doing for last nine years,” Aparna said. Also read2008 Malegaon case: MCOCA dropped against Sadhvi Pragya and Col Purohit, to be tried under UAPA and IPC sectionsWhen DNA asked her about the reaction of the family members including Purohit, she said, “For nine years, I was fighting alone where I had to look after my family while I was making rounds of courts. However, now since my husband is out of jail, entire family is relieved. We are now able to divide the work and with each other’s support we are now fighting the case with more efficiency.”
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To give more powers to security forces in controlling crime, law and order in Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath government approved the UP Control of Organized Crime Act (UPCOCA) on the lines of MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act).A Bill in this regard was approved by the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet on Wednesday after six-month long deliberations over the provisions of the Act. The Bill will now be tabled at the winter session of the State Legislature, beginning Thursday, for promulgation of the Act. In another important decision, the Cabinet also approved to install bio-metric attendance systems at the Secretariat and other government offices and made bio-metric attendance mandatory for all government employees, including the IAS, IPS and PCS officers. “The State government has accorded top priority to control law and order. The Act is aimed at tightening further noose around criminals in Uttar Pradesh,” said Srikant Sharma, BJP government Spokesperson.The Bill was drafted after studying the provisions made in MCOCA. Stringent measures have been recommended in the bill against those involved in criminal activities, organized crime like running mafia gangs, mine mafia, land grabbing, kidnapping for ransom etc.The Bill provides to confiscate and attach properties acquired through illegal means of criminals and makes provisions for punishment from minimum three years to Capital punishment. It also provides a fine of Rs 5 to 25 lakhs. To break the nexus between the criminals and politicians, it envisages special power to the police. The bill also proposes o extend period of filing chargesheet from 90 days to 180 days.Provisions of UPCOCA could be slapped only after recommendation of the Commissioner or IG rank officials. The state government would also establish special force and UPCOA Courts to expedite such cases. The Principal Secretary Home will personally monitor cases under UPCOA.The Yogi Adityanath government has already launched a massive cfrackdown against criminals in the state. About 30 reward-carrying criminals have so far been shot dead by the police in encounters.“The UPCOCA will give much-required additional powers to the security forces to send criminals to jail and get them punishment in shortest time through the UPCOA Courts,” said a senior police official.The ruling BJP has majority in UP Assembly but ot would be interesting how the Bill is passed in the UP Council, the Upper House, dominated by the opposition Samajwadi Party which had opposed the Bill in 2007 when then Chief Mayawati had tried to introduce it.
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<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what may add to the woes of beleaguered bureaucrat Radheshyam Mopalwar, a forensic probe has matched his voice with that in the audio clips in which ‘financial matters’ were being discussed.Highly-placed sources told DNA that Mopalwar’s voice samples had tallied with those in the clips submitted to the forensic science laboratory in Mumbai for testing.During the monsoon session of the legislature, an audio clip wherein the senior IAS officer was allegedly mediating a land deal involving underhand payments had come to came to light. In the clip, a voice, purportedly that of Mopalwar, is heard seeking Rs 1 crore and making references to money to be paid in the state administrative headquarters of Mantralaya.This led to the Opposition going in for the jugular in the state legislature. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced that Mopalwar would be shunted out as the Managing Director of the Maharashtra State Roads Development Corporation (MSRDC) pending an inquiry. Subsequently, complainant Satish Mangle with whom the alleged conversations had taken place, was arrested by the Thane Police for trying to blackmail and extort money from the controversial bureaucrat.A government official claimed that the laboratory had found that voice samples of Mopalwar and Mangle matched those in the two tapes. “The laboratory has submitted the report to the three-member committee,” he added.When contacted, Mopalwar said he was unaware of the forensic report and hence declined to comment.In a related development, Thane Police on Tuesday applied Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against Satish Mangle and others alleged involved in the crime.On November 3, Thane Police had arrested Mangle and his second wife Shraddha for allegedly demanding extortion of Rs 7 crore from Mopalwar. Next day, the police had arrested Mangle’s alleged associate Atul Tawde in the said case.”On November 12, complainant Mopalwar received a phone call from gangster Ravi Pujari who told him to withdraw his case against Mangle and demanded Rs 7 crore extortion from him. Pujari also threatened to kill Mopalwar and his family if the extortion is not given. After it got established that the said offence is committed by the organised crime syndicate of gangster Ravi Pujari, sections of MCOCA has been applied against the accused,” a press release issued by Thane Police stated.The official said that the committee, which is headed by former chief secretary Johny Joseph and includes additional commissioner of police RD Shinde and DCP Parag Manere, had asked the laboratory if the clips were authentic or if the conversations were edited.”The clips provided to the laboratory were the ones that were aired on television channels. The laboratory said it cannot verify the authenticity of the clips but stated that the voice samples of Mopalwar and Mangle matched with those in these two clips,” he added.The terms of reference of the committee include examining if the voice on the tapes is that of Mopalwar and if the charges are linked to Mopalwar’s position as the MSRDC chief. A committee member said the case against Mopalwar hinged on the laboratory’s report.As the managing director of the Corporation, Mopalwar was in-charge of implementing the Fadnavis’ pet project — the Rs 46,000 crore and 700-km Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Expressway.”If the forensic report on the audio clips comes positive then it will be an information sufficient enough to file an FIR under Prevention of Corruption Act against Mopalwar. The state Anti-Corruption Bureau or Mumbai Police can file an FIR in the matter and initiate probe,” said former IPS officer turned lawyer, YP Singh.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The prosecution on Wednesday had informed the MCOCA court that the prime witness in the journalist Jyotirmoy Dey’s murder case, an eye witness had become untraceable. The court has directed the prosecution to find the witness till the time the prosecution does not complete providing its evidence, however if not found till then, then the court would not waste its time searching him, but would proceed with the case ahead.The prosecution also held that if the agency fails to find him in next 15-20 days, which is the estimated time to complete the evidence, then the prosecution would drop his name from examination.Special public prosecutor, Pradeep Gharat while speaking to DNA confirmed the fact, but added that his team is still searching for the witness. “Our officers had been to the house of the witness to serve summons, when they were informed by the witnesses’ family members that the identity of the witness has been allegedly leaked to the accused and who have allegedly threatened him with consequences. Thus, the witness is afraid to come on record and has gone missing and even the family is not in a position to inform us about his address.”Advocate Gharat further added that till date the prosecution has examined 145 witnesses in the matter and is yet to examine eight to ten more witnesses. “I have informed the cops that they have still 15-20 days to find the witness and if they fail in tracing him, then we shall drop his name,”Gharat added.Dey, a veteran crime reporter, was shot dead near his residence at Hiranandani Gardens in Powai on June 11, 2011, by motorcycle-borne shooters allegedly at Rajan’s command. Four persons on two bikes fired at Dey, who was also riding a bike. After the attack, he was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Police have arrested a gangster Amrik Singh who is a life convict and had not returned after completing the period of his furlough.A close aide of Krishan Pehalwan, Singh was absconding and had been planning to eliminate his rivals in the Capital. He has been booked twice in MCOCA and several cases of murder, attempt to murder and a case under Arms Act are registered against him.According to the police, Amrik Singh was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1998. He told the police that he had killed a man named Ved Prakasha and later murdered his niece and her husband. While he was in Tihar Jail he was informed that his relatives were making plans against him. It was then that he decided to come out on furlough and did not come back to surrender.”During his furlough, he threatened his cousin and asked him to evacuate a property in Mongolpuri,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime, Rajesh Deo.Singh was also declared a bad character of South Rohini area. The police were constantly on the lookout for him. On September 20, the police came found out that Singh was hiding somewhere in Bharatpur, Rajasthan. A trap was laid and he was nabbed from near Murli Cinema in Bharatpur on Thursday.Singh started committing crime at an early age and was arrested for the first time in 1985. In 1985, he was arrested in a hurt case and has committed several cases including murder and attempt to murder. To curb his illegal activities, he was also booked under the provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act ( MCOCA).Behind barsAccording to the police, Amrik Singh was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1998. He told the police that he had killed a man named Ved Prakasha and later murdered his niece and her husband. While he was in Tihar Jail he was informed that his relatives were making plans against him.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea of a man seeking to set off the remainder of his 10-year jail term in the case of multiple blasts in Mumbai between December 2002 and March 2003 in which 13 people were killed.Saquib Abdul Hamid Nachan was awarded 10-year jail term in the case lodged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) by a special court in Mumbai.Before being convicted, he had spent over seven years in jail during the adjudication of the case.Twelve people were killed in the Mulund train blast on March 13, 2003. Prior to that, on December 6, 2002, several persons were injured in a blast at a McDonalds outlet at the Mumbai Central station, while one person was killed in a blast at a market in Vile Parle (East) on January 27, 2003.A special POTA court in Mumbai had convicted 10 persons, including Nachan, in connection with the case. Three convicts were awarded life term by the court.After being released on bail in the POTA case in March 2011, Nachan was re-arrested on August 4, 2012 in connection with a separate case lodged under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).In October last year, he was also released on bail in the MCOCA case, in which the trial is still pending.On April 6 last year, Nachan was convicted by a special court in the POTA case and subsequently awarded the decade long jail term.He had approached the Bombay High Court claiming that the trial in the POTA case was going on when he was an under trial prisoner in the MCOCA case.He had said that the period of detention undergone by him in the MCOCA case should be set off against the jail term given to him in the POTA case.The high court had dismissed his plea saying the period undergone by him in MCOCA case cannot be set off against the sentence imposed in the POTA case.Nachan had thereafter moved the apex court challenging the May 5 verdict of the high court.His plea came up for hearing on Tuesday before a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar which dismissed his appeal.
<!– /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
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today granted bail to Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, who has been languishing in jail for almost nine years for his alleged role in 2008 Malegaon blast case, observing there were contradictions in the charge sheets filed by different investigating agencies. The top court also said it cannot deny the relief to him merely because “sentiments of community was against him”. Six people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nasik district of north Maharashtra. The apex court said there were “material contradictions” in the charge sheets filed by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), Mumbai and the National Investigating Agency (NIA), which are required to be tested at the time of trial, and it cannot pick or choose one version over the other. A bench of Justices R K Agrawal and Abhay Mohan Sapre, while taking note of variations in the charge sheets filed by Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) Mumbai and NIA, said that fresh ground for consideration of Purohit’s bail plea was made out, as at the relevant time, he was an Intelligence officer of the Indian Army. It said that Purohit has refuted the claim of conspiracy on the ground that he had informed to his senior officers about the intelligence inputs of meetings attended by him at the Abhinav Bharat, a right-wing Hindu extremist outfit, and alleged role of ATS officials in the planting of RDX explosive substance at the residence of a co-accused. Keeping in view that NIA submitted a supplementary charge sheet which is “at variance” with the one filed by the ATS, the trial was likely to take a long time and the appellant has been in prison for about eight years and eight months, “we are of the considered view that the appellant has made out a prima facie case for release on bail and we deem it appropriate to enlarge the appellant herein on bail,” the bench said. Holding that the “grant or denial is regulated, to a large extent, by the facts and circumstances of each particular case,” it said but the “right to bail is not to be denied merely because of the sentiments of the community being against the accused.” “Liberty of a citizen is undoubtedly important but this is to balance with the security of the community. A balance is required to be maintained between the personal liberty of the accused and the investigational rights of the agency. It must result in minimum interference with the personal liberty of the accused and the right of the agency to investigate the case,” the bench said. The court set aside the April 25 verdict of the Bombay High Court denying bail to Purohit, but imposed certain restrictions while granting him relief after he spent eight years and eight months in jail. Among the conditions imposed by apex court while granting bail to Purohit was that he would not leave India without prior permission of court and not directly or indirectly make any inducement to any witnesses. The court, however, made it clear that the grant of bail to Purohit, shall be no ground for similar relief to other accused in the case and each plea for relief will be considered on its own merits. “We also make it clear that the Special Court shall decide the bail applications if filed by the other accused persons, uninfluenced by any observation made by this Court. Further, any observations made by us in this order shall not come in the way of deciding the trial on merits”, it said. The apex court took into consideration that NIA during its probe had found that there were contradictions with regard to the evidence led in the charge sheet by the ATS and it was concluded that no offence under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) was attracted. The confessional statements recorded under the MCOCA provisions by the ATS were not being relied upon by the NIA in the charge sheet against the accused persons, it said. The bench said that NIA found no evidence against Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur to prosecute her, as all the witnesses had retracted from their statements. Purohit had moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court’s order dismissing his bail plea. A special MCOCA court had earlier ruled that the ATS had wrongly applied this law against Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Purohit and nine others. 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.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, today told the Supreme Court that he has been caught in “political crossfire” and languishing in jail for nine years without even charges being framed against him. Purohit accepted that he had attended meetings of Abhinav Bharat, a right wing organisation whose members were accused of conspiring in the Malegaon blast, but he had acted as an army officer and passed on the information to his senior officers about group’s activities. A bench of Justices R K Agrawal and A M Sapre reserved its verdict on Purohit’s plea seeking interim bail and said it will pass order. “My client has got himself caught in political crossfire. He has been in jail for nine years but still he is serving in the Indian Army. Since 2001, he has got numerous recommendations for infiltration. From an unsung hero, he has been now called an incarcerated hero,” senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Purohit, said. He said that all these facts were shown to the Bombay High Court but they say these records were not put against him by prosecution. So why would they look into it, he asked. “Allegation against me is that I supplied RDX explosive material on the conspiracy hatched by Sadhvi Pragya Thakur. Now, if she is enlarged on bail and given a clean chit by NIA, then the link between me and her is snapped. I am at least entitled for interim bail after undergoing nine years of jail in the case,” Salve said. He said that even after these nine years, no interim relief was granted by the trial court which has said it will look into the chargesheet at the trial stage. “ATS in its chargesheet says that I attended meetings of Abhinav Bharat. Yes, I attended certain meetings, but as a military mole. I have been doing my duty. “The court says that it will look into ATS chargesheet at the stage of trial and refuses interim bail even as charges are not framed against me. What kind of criminal justice system is this,” Salve said. He said that charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) were dropped against Purohit by the apex court in 2015, after no evidence was found against him. “I am not asking for discharge in the case, but all I am saying is that after nine years of incarceration, even after MCOCA has been dropped, give me interim bail. After nine years a man is entitled to see the sun outside jail,” Salve said. He argued that Purohit has been falsely implicated by Maharashtra Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) and no report has been filed after eight years of Army’s Court of Inquiry. “I asked the court to look into Court of Inquiry records but it said that these are not relied upon and can’t go beyond the chargesheet. This is wrong approach in law. In bail, I can show exculpatory evidence but in framing of charges I can’t do so,” Salve told the bench. He said that NIA said in its report that many of the witnesses were forced to give statements and it would not rely on any such statement. “Dubious methods were adopted by the ATS, which become crystal clear with the disappearance of prime witnesses in the case,” the senior lawyer said, adding that ATS had no time to collect evidence in the case due to which Purohit was booked under MCOCA and denied bail. Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for NIA, said although it has been found that Purohit had rightly informed his seniors about the activities of Abhinav Bharat, there were some materials against him which could justify framing of charges against him. Senior advocate Amrendra Sharan, appearing for one Nisar Ahmed Haji Sayed Bilal, father of one of the blast victims who intervened in the matter, said that Purohit was a “powerful person” and could influence the witnesses in the case. “The fact that witnesses are retracting their statements, give credence to the fact that he can influence them and tamper with prosecution evidence if enlarged on bail,” Sharan said, adding that the “the propensity of the accused to tamper with the prosecution witness is very crucial factor to be considered at the time of grant of bail”. Purohit had moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court’s order dismissing his bail plea. Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nasik district of north Maharashtra. A special MCOCA court had earlier ruled that the ATS had wrongly applied this law against Thakur, Purohit and nine others. 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. It had alleged that it was Pandey who had instructed Purohit to arrange explosive RDX, while Thakur owned the motorcycle which was used in the blast. Ajay Rahirkar, another accused, allegedly organised funds for the terror act, while conspiracy meetings were held at the Bhonsala Military School in Nasik, it had said. Rakesh Dhawde, Ramesh Upadhyay, Shyamlal Sahu, Shivnarain Kalsangra, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Jagdish Mhatre and Sameer Kulkarni were the other accused.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court today sought response of the city government on a plea over non-payment of maintenance by it to two minor children of an alleged drug lord and his wife Zohra Sheikh, who has been jailed since June 2006 on charges of being part of an organised crime syndicate. Justice A K Pathak issued notice to the child welfare department of the Delhi government on a fresh application moved by Zohra, who was earlier denied bail by the high court, seeking compliance of the court’s 2009 order to pay for the welfare of the children. The application, filed through advocate Sumeet Verma, said that as per the 2009 high court order, the child welfare department was directed to take care of the food, education and other needs of her three minor kids as Zohra and her husband Sharafat Sheikh were in prison, facing trial under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). It said that in 2014 the government came up with a new policy for maintenance under which it was decided that an amount of Rs 3,500 shall be paid to first child, Rs 3,000 to the second and above two children, a maximum of Rs 6,500 shall be disbursed to cover the needs. It said that the government stopped disbursing the amounts to all the children since its policy came into force. The plea also said that in 2016 the eldest child turned a major, but the remaining two kids were also being deprived of the payment by the government. The government intimated the court about its 2014 policy, but failed to comply with its order to pay the children till they became major. Asking the city government to respond on the issue, the court fixed the matter for hearing on November six. The high court had in February this year denied bail to Zohra observing that she has been “roped in” on very serious charges including possessing unaccounted wealth on behalf of the crime syndicate under the MCOCA and that she might influence the witnesses and tamper with the evidence considering the stakes for her and her husband. It had also said since the woman was facing charges of destruction of evidence, forging voter identity cards to meet her husband in jail and was also convicted in two criminal cases for kidnapping and causing hurt by dangerous weapon, an inference could be drawn that she could commit an offence while on bail. According to the prosecution, a secret information was received on July 7, 2005 that Sharafat, suspected to have been trading in narcotics with his gang members in Delhi on a large scale, was to come to his residence. Based on the information, a raid was conducted and Sharafat was found. He was also alleged to have in his possession a loaded pistol and a packet of 500 grams of ‘heroin or smack’. The Delhi Police had said that since it was alleged that Sharafat was the chief of a crime syndicate and was amassing wealth through illegal trade of narcotics, provisions under the MCOCA were invoked. Later, sanction was granted by an additional commissioner of police for prosecution of Sharafat and other accused — Mohd Saleem, Sheikh Hannan, and Najma Sheikh (first wife of Sharafat) and subsequently, the first charge sheet was filed on December 10, 2005. During the investigation, the prosecution had sought sanction against Zohra for alleged commission of offence under section 4 (for possessing unaccountable wealth on behalf of member of organised crime syndicate) of the MCOCA and a supplementary charge sheet was filed against her on September 8, 2006. She was arrested on June 12, 2006.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A petition was filed today in the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court’s order granting bail to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. The plea has sought a stay on the high court’s April 25 this year order granting bail to her. The high court had granted her the relief saying there was “no prima facie evidence against her”. Petitioner Nisar Ahmed Haji Sayed Bilal, father of one of the blast victims, has alleged that Thakur was a “powerful person” and could influence the witnesses in the case. “The high court failed to appreciate that Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur is an influential person and is likely to wield her power and influence in an illegal and unlawful manner to tamper with evidence and influence witnesses,” he has said in the petition. The plea has claimed that there was ample evidence against her, and “her role, involvement and complicity in planning and executing the conspiracy for committing Malegaon blast is writ large on the case record.” “Thakur coordinated with a co-accused for providing explosives to her confidantes/absconding accused,” it has said. The petition has said that she had been denied bail by a special court in Mumbai several times in the years 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016 on the ground that “a prima facie case is clearly made out against her.” Thakur was granted bail by the high court, which, however, had refused a similar relief to co-accused Lt Col Prasad Purohit. Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nasik district of north Maharashtra. A Special MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) court had earlier ruled that the Anti-Terrorist Squad had wrongly applied the MCOCA in the case against Thakur, Purohit and nine others. The 4,000-page charge sheet had alleged that Malegaon was selected as the blast target because of a sizeable Muslim population there. It named Thakur, Purohit and co-accused, Swami Dayanand Pandey as the key conspirators. The charge sheet had further alleged it was Pandey who had instructed Purohit to arrange explosive RDX, while Thakur owned the motorcycle which was used in the blast. Ajay Rahirkar, another accused, allegedly organised funds for the terror act, while conspiracy meetings were held at Bhonsala Military School in Nasik, it had said. Rakesh Dhawde, Ramesh Upadhyay, Shyamlal Sahu, Shivnarain Kalsangra, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Jagdish Mhatre and Sameer Kulkarni were the other accused.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Irked over the “inept” handling of a case by judicial officers of a lower court, the Delhi High Court has said there was a need to train these officers in dealing with special enactments. Justice R K Gauba pulled up the presiding officers of the special court over the handling of the public prosecutor’s report for extension of the judicial custody of an accused in the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). “The impropriety reflected in the inept handling on the part of the judicial officers who dealt with the matter at hand, points to the need for proper sensitisation of the judicial officers at large in the intricacies and nuances of such special enactments through training or orientation programmes organised by the judicial academy,” the court said. The court further shed light on the confusion that might prevail in cases when the judges in special courts are not available. The high court has proposed the introduction of an arrangement of link courts, which is similar to the courts of the metropolitan magistrates, in such cases. The court observed this in an appeal by Rambeer Shokeen, who was arrested in December last year for offences under the MCOCA. He had challenged certain orders passed by the two special courts contending that his judicial custody beyond February this year was illegal. Shokeen had contended that he was entitled to be released on bail due to the delay on the part of the investigating agency in completing the probe and filing its charge sheet within the statutory period of 90 days.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case.Sadhvi had sought bail saying there was no material to implicate her and the National Investigation Agency had given her a ‘clean chit’ earlier.She has been granted bail on a surety of Rs 5 lakh. However, the court dismissed a bail plea of another accused Lt.Col Prasad Purohit. Sadhvi Pragya Singh is the only accused in the 2008 case to have been released on bail.In November 2015, following an order of the apex court, Sadhvi had filed a bail plea before the special NIA court which was rejected after the court held that there existed prima facie evidence against her.However, in May 2016, NIA filed a charge sheet in the case absolving Sadhvi of all charges. NIA also dropped the stringent charge of MCOCA against all accused.Sadhvi applied for bail in the trial court but her plea was rejected. She then moved the high court with a fresh bail plea and challenged the trial court order which had rejected her prayer for liberty.Sadhvi claimed her health has been deteriorating since her arrest eight years ago and that she has become ‘infirm’ due to the numerous hardships she has undergone during the probe by ATS.Six persons were killed in the blast at Malegaon, a powerloom town in north Maharashtra, in September 2008.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police have invoked charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the 19 accused allegedly involved in the murder of a Congress leader in Bhiwandi. “The accused were already charged under the provisions of the IPC and the Arms Act for the murder of Congress leader Manoj Mhatre and now we have added provisions of MCOCA,” Thane Additional CP (Crime) Manoj Ranade confirmed today. “The alleged accused indulged in organised crime and let loose a reign of terror in the locality for political and personal gains and this has been revealed during the probe,” the order by Thane police stated. DCP Crime Parag Manere said of the 19 accused allegedly involved in the crime, seven have been arrested and hunt is on for the remaining suspects. Congress leader of the house in Bhiwandi-Nizampur civic body Manoj Mhatre was shot dead on February 14 over political rivalry.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Police today filed charge sheet in the GB Road trafficking and prostitution racket unearthed last year, in which the accused have been booked under the stringent MCOCA provisions. Police claimed that this is the first time provisions of MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) have been invoked against those accused of human trafficking. The charge sheet, which was filed before additional sessions judge Vimal Kumar Yadav in the Tis Hazari court, names 10 persons as accused. The main accused husband-wife duo of Afaq Hussain and Saira Begum are in judicial custody. The proceedings to declare three accused as Proclaimed Offenders have been initiated and 18 properties worth 246 crores have been identified, police said. “The charge sheet was prepared after a six-month of exhaustive investigation and contains 3,895 pages,” said Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of police (Crime). Investigation is still on and supplementary charge sheets will be filed at the earliest, he said. More accused persons are to be identified and arrested in this case and more properties to be traced out, he added. In order to curb ghastly activities of this syndicate of human trafficking and prostitution operating at GB Road, Crime Branch had launched massive action and invoked MCOCA. The arrests in the case were made last year starting from August after a thorough study which revealed that more than 80 per cent “business” at the GB Road is controlled by two-three operators and their “own” network of agents, police said. The husband-wife duo Afaq Hussain and Saira Begum were identified as such operators who controlled everything closely through their handpicked ‘Kotha’ managers known as ‘nayikas’ and musclemen. The Crime Branch team in raids in different parts of the city had arrested the couple and their associates. The associates were paid 15 per cent of the monthly earnings which runs into crores. Investigation showed that prior to their arrests in similar cases in 2013, Afaq used to purchase ‘Kothas’ in the name of Saira but they later transferred ownership titles to some of their confidants. The Crime Branch study of crime pattern had revealed that girls from different states and also from Nepal, most of them minors, were victims of this racket. They are allegedly sold to the ‘Kotha’ owners at G B Road at the rate of Rs 1-2 lakh. The young girls were thrashed, confined in hidden cells, intoxicated and kept starved for many days to force them in sex trade. The ‘Kotha’ operators recovered monthly 8-10 per cent of the amount as well as interest on it which was spent on buying them.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NIA has recorded the statement of a suspended Maharashtra ATS officer who made a sensational claim before a court that two absconding accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case were dead. The NIA had recently summoned former senior inspector Mehmood Mujawar of Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in Mumbai and recorded his statement, official sources said. The sources said he had been asked to provide evidence about his claims made before the Solapur court that Ramchandra Kalsangre and Sandeep Dange are “no more”. Mujawar was suspended after a case under Arms Act and criminal intimidation was filed against him. “Sandeep Dange and Ramji Kalsangra are in fact no more but are shown alive in Malegaon bomb blast case by high-ranking police officers,” Mujawar had claimed in the court last December. The sources said Mujawar’s claims would be ascertained and verified independently by the NIA officers as both the accused are wanted in connection with the Malegaon case and the agency has announced a cash reward also for any information on their whereabouts. They said a final decision on the veracity of the claims made will be taken after ascertaining these and it would be informed to the special NIA court. A bomb strapped to a motorcycle exploded in Malegaon on September 29, 2008, killing seven people and injuring around 100. According to the investigating agencies, the blast was carried out by right-wing extremists and 11 people including Lt Col Prasad Purohit and sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur are at present in jail. The state ATS, which was initially probing the case, had charged the accused under various sections of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Indian Penal Code, Indian Explosives Act and the Arms Act. However, when the case was handed over to the NIA, the agency filed a supplementary charge sheet by which charges under MCOCA were dropped on the ground that there wasn’t sufficient material. The NIA charge sheet also dropped names of Thakur and five others from the list of accused. Apart from Thakur, those given clean chit by NIA are Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyam Sahu, Praveen Takkalki, Lokesh Sharma and Dhan Singh.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)