Malegaon case: Sadhvi Pragya to get clean chit; Col Purohit not to be charged with MCOCA

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur
In developments that could dilute the Malegaon blasts probe further, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is all set to not name Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as an accused in its chargesheet, The Indian Express reports.  Meanwhile, Colonel Prasad Purohit is likely to drop charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). 

The news comes weeks after nine accused Muslim men were discharged for lack of evidence by a Mumbai court. This was after they had spent a decade in prison. 

The investigating agency will also be giving a clean chit to three other accused who were said to have a ‘peripheral role’ and were ‘not aware of the conspiracy’ behind the blasts. The explosions, which took place on September 29, 2008, had killed four and injured 79. 

The chargesheet, to be filed in a Mumbai court on Friday, is set to mention that the investigation carried out by the former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare was flawed. It is likely to state that evidence against Purohit had been fabricated and witnesses’ statements were taken under duress, the publication reported. 

In fact, the chargesheet will mention that it was the ATS that planted the explosives in Purohit’s quarters at the Deolali Army camp at the time of his arrest. Karkare was killed in the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.  

Former Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday questioned the NIA's actions in the case. He said that it was strange how witnesses were turning hostile, CNN-News18 reports. 

Case file

The Maharashtra ATS, in a chargesheet filed earlier, had named 14 people as accused, including Thakur and Purohit. This was before the NIA took over the investigation three years ago. 

NIAs’ probe felt pointed to ‘weak evidence’ against Thakur. The only material evidence against her was the motorcycle on which the bomb was kept. This motorcycle was in her name but was being used by Ramchandra Kalsangra. Investigations have proved it was with him for two years prior to the blast. He was the one who would get it repaired and pay for its maintenance. Witness statements proved it,” an officer told the newspaper. Thakur may be all set to walk free. 

Meanwhile, Purohit is likely to be charged under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, while MCOCA is set to be dropped. The agency is said to have evidence linking him to the organisation that plotted the blasts. A money trail had led to Purohit. 

Controversy-clad

The case had garnered attention then due to the emergence right-wing terror activities. 

Apart from this, the special prosecutor in the case had, last year, said that she was being pressurised from the NIA to go soft on the accused ever since the new government came to power. She was later removed as the case prosecutor.   


Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel