Malegaon blast victims write to Bombay HC Chief Justice against transfer of judge

An outer view of Bombay High Court in Mumbai. File

An outer view of Bombay High Court in Mumbai. File | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

Victims of the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast have written to the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court requesting the extension of the tenure of the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) judge presiding over the trial since August 2020.

There is a proposal for the transfer of special judge P.R. Sitre to Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra as per the Annual General Transfer of 2022 where the postings are decided by the Chief Justice and administrative judges of the High Court.

The victims have also written to the Registrar stating that Mr. Sitre has already examined over 100 witnesses in the last one year and four months and any new judge will take time to get take over the trial.

Talking to The Hindu, special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal confirmed the plea to the Chief Justice and said, "There is a proposal about Mr. Sitre's transfer and the victims have written a letter to the chief justice."

Six persons were killed and over 100 injured in blasts in Malegaon in Nashik district on September 28, 2008. On July 15, 2020, the NIA counsel told the Bombay High Court that it will consider reducing the number of witnesses in the trial. He said there are originally 491 witnesses of which 181 have been examined.

After a case was filed by Azad Nagar Police Station, it was re-registered by Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) in November 2008 and Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) charges were applied. In January 2009, the ATS had filed its first chargesheet followed by a supplementary chargesheet filed in April 2011.

However, in April 2011, the Ministry of Home Affairs had suo-motu directed the NIA to take up further investigation of the case. The central agency had registered cases under provisions of MCOCA, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Explosives Substances Act and the Indian Penal Code.

On May 13, 2016, the NIA had filed its second supplementary chargesheet but dropped MCOCA charges against Bharatiya Janata Party’s member of parliament Pragya Singh Thakur, Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, Sameer Kulkarni, Ramesh Upadhyay and Sudhakar Chaturvedi.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2022 2:05:06 am |