Mumbai: After spending nearly five years in jail, seven of the nine accused in the 2006 Malegaon blasts that killed 37 people were released from prison on Wednesday.
They were released after a trial
court here granted them bail.
Salman Farsi, Shabir Ahmed, Noorulhuda Doha, Rais Ahmed,
Mohammed Zahid and Faroogue Ansari were released from the Arthur Road jail. Another accused Abrar Ahmed is also expected to be set free from Byculla jail after completion of
formalities, police said.
The release comes days after a Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) special court granted bail to all nine accused in the case, after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) decided not to oppose their pleas.
NIA contended that after the confession of Swami
Aseemanand (arrested in connection with the 2007 Mecca Masjid
bomb blast case) about the alleged involvement of a right-wing
group in the Malegaon blast, it reviewed the evidence collected by previous investigating agencies ATS, Maharashtra, and CBI besides gathering some fresh evidence.
"After due deliberations, a decision was taken on the
basis of facts and circumstances not to oppose the bail plea
of all the nine accused," the NIA had told the court.
The accused were granted bail on the surety of Rs 50,000 each with a condition of not leaving the country without the permission of the court.
Two accused will however continue to remain in jail as they were also accused of being involved in the multiple train blasts that took place in Mumbai July 11, 2006.
“Mohammed Ali and Asif Khan, inspite of being granted bail in this case, will not be released as they are allegedly involved in the 7/11 case,” Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian had said.
The nine accused pleaded that they were in jail for the past four years and that there was no direct evidence of their involvement in the blasts.
Jalil Ahmed, lawyer of the accused, said Swami Aseemanand, who had been arrested for his alleged role in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blasts in Hyderabad, confessed that the accused were not actually responsible for the Malegaon blasts.
The nine accused in the 2006 bomb blasts in Malegaon town of Maharashtra’s Nashik district filed bail applications in October.
Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad, which had probed the case before the NIA, arrested nine people – Shabir Ahmed, Salman Farsi, Rais Ahmed, Noorulhuda Doha, Asif Khan, Mohammed Ali, Farooque Ansari, Javed Sheikh and Abrar Ahmed – for their alleged involvement in the multiple blasts in the minority-dominated town.
The explosions near a mosque on September 8, 2006 killed 37 people and injured over 100. The accused applied for bail in March as well, but it was denied by court.
(With IANS inputs)