Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will on Friday file a chargesheet in a Mumbai court as regards the 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts case.
In the chargesheet, the NIA has decided to drop Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur's name as an accused.
The NIA is also likely to mention before the UAPA court that evidence against the key accused, Colonel Prasad Purohit, was fabricated and the probe led by former Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare was flawed, and statements of witnesses were taken under duress, reported The Indian Express.
However, Purohit will continue to be a key accused in the NIA chargesheet, which will also say that the ATS planted explosives in Purohit’s living quarters at the Deolali Army camp at the time of his arrest in 2008.
The NIA has decided to drop charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against Purohit and all other accused. They will now be charged under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, said the daily.
The September 29, 2008 Malegaon blasts in which seven were killed and another 80 were injured, was the first major case in which the involvement of right-wing Hindu extremists came to the fore after investigations by then Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, who was killed in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks by Pakistani terrorists.
Initially, the needle of suspicion was cast on minority community members, but after Karkare's probe, 12 people including Sadhvi Pragya, Colonel PS Purohit (retd) and Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Shyam Sahu, SN Kalsangra, Sameer Kulkarni, and Dayanand Pandey were arrested.
The case was investigated by the local police followed by the ATS and CBI; the NIA took it over in 2011 after which three more accused were nabbed.