A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on April 10 issued a bailable warrant of ₹10,000 against an Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) officer for repeatedly not appearing to record his statement in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts case trial.
The officer was part of the initial investigation team of the ATS and had recorded statements of witnesses in the case. Later, the NIA took over the case in 2011.
On April 10, the special court ordered the officer to remain present in the court to record his statement on May 2.
Last week, a witness in the case — a former army officer who had mentioned in his earlier statements to the NIA that one of the accused, Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, has links to right-wing outfit Abhinav Bharat — was declared hostile.
This was the 34th witness in the case who turned hostile in an ongoing trial against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) member of parliament Pragya Singh Thakur, retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi, Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Mr. Purohit.
On September 29, 2008, a bomb exploded in Malegaon, a city in Nashik district of Maharashtra killing six and injuring over 100. A case filed by Azad Nagar police station was re-registered by the ATS in November 2008 with Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) charges also applied. In January 2009, the ATS filed its first chargesheet followed by a supplementary chargesheet in April 2011.
However, in April 2011, the Ministry of Home Affairs suo motu directed the NIA to take up further investigation of the case. The central agency registered cases under provisions of MCOCA, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the Explosives Substances Act and the Indian Penal Code.
On May 13, 2016, the NIA filed its second supplementary chargesheet but dropped MCOCA charges against all the accused.