Two years after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) told the court that it did not have any evidence to link them to the blasts case, a Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Monday discharged nine Malegaon locals from the Malegaon 2006 blasts case.
Nine Malegaon residents — Noorul Huda Samsudoha, Shabbir Ahmed Masiullah, Raees Ahmed Rajab Ali Mansuri, Salman Farsi Abdul Latif Aimi, Farogh Iqbal Ahmed Magdumi, Mohammad Ali Alam Sheikh, Asif Khan Bashir Khan alias Junaid, Mohammad Zahid Abdul Majid Ansari and Abrar Ahmed Gulam Ahmed — were arrested by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad in 2006 for their role in the blasts.
Shabbir Ahmed - one of the 9 accused in the case died in an accident few months ago.
The serial blasts which occurred near Hamidia mosque near Bada Kabrastan after Friday prayers on Shab-e-Baraat day in September 2006, killed 37 and injured over 100 people in communally sensitive Malegaon power loom town in Nasik district in north Maharashtra. The bombs were planted on bicycles, ATS investigation revealed.
The ATS, which first probed the case, had arrested the nine on the basis of alleged links with the banned SIMI. The case was later handed over the CBI, which endorsed the ATS findings.
In 2011, the case was handed over to the NIA.
>Swami Assemanand, an accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blasts case being investigated by the NIA, confessed> to the role of Hindu right wing organisations in the Malegaon 2006 case. Following the confession, the NIA told the court that it had no evidence against the nine Malegaon residents, paving the way for their release.
Meanwhile, another serial explosion rocked Malegaon in 2008 in which the Maharashtra ATS headed by Hemant Karkare had for the first time arrested Hindu right-wingers including serving army officer Col Prasad Purohit, and Sadhvi Pragya Singh.
Reacting to the development, AIMIM MLA Imtiaz Jaleel has demanded that action should be taken against the officers of Maharashtra ATS for arresting the nine accused, and destroying their lives. The Maharashtra ATS was then headed by K.P. Raghuvanshi, who also investigated the July 11, 2006 Mumbai serial bombings case, and has since retired.