Malegaon blasts: Terror charges against Sadhvi Pragya, Purohit dropped

A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on Wednesday dropped charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against Lt Col Prasad Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Ramesh Upadhyay and Ajay Rahikar in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.

While the court dropped all charges under Section 17, 20 and 13 of the the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Arms Act, it however, decided that Sadhvi Pragya and Purohit will be tried under Section 18 of the former act as well as Sections 120B, 302, 307, 304, 326, 427 and 153 A of the Indian Penal Code.

All the accused persons are already out on bail, though all previous bonds and sureties will continue, the special NIA court said.

The next date of hearing has been scheduled for January 15.

The court refused to exonerate Sadhvi Pragya from the charges of conspiracy, holding that she was aware about a motorcycle being used to carry out the explosion.

On Monday, the court had dismissed the petitions filed by Purohit and another accused Sameer Kulkarni, challenging the sanction of prosecution under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

On September 29, 2008, six people were killed and 101 people injured after a bomb tied to a motorcycle exploded in Nashik's Malegaon town. The Maharashtra Police's Anti-Terrorism Squad had arrested 11 people in the case in November 2008. In April 2011, the investigation was transferred to the NIA.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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