Mumbai: A former army officer and an accused in 2008 Malegaon blast case has written a letter to the Bombay High Court challenging the constitutional validity of Maharashtra ATS and National Investigating Agency, which had probed the matter.
The letter, converted into a petition, came up for hearing today before a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oak which decided to hear it on November 1.
Ramesh Upadhyay prayed that the constitutional validity of ATS and NIA may be examined and their action may be declared illegal and ultravires the Constitution. He said these agencies had no powers to investigate or arrest anyone.
He said Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) was applied in this case on October 20, 2008, but this was quashed by the trial court. The Bombay High Court restored application of MCOCA and currently it is under challenge in the Supreme Court.
Upadhyay said that ATS was not created by an act of Legislature. It came into being through a notification of the Home Department of Maharashtra in 2004 and was meant to function under the Police Commissioner of Mumbai along with Intelligence Bureau outside Mumbai.
The job of ATS was to collect and analyse information and act upon the intelligence gathered by taking preventive action. However, it had no powers to arrest anyone. Even IB is not authorised to interrogate, probe or arrest or prosecute an individual, he contended.
The government has not yet replied to the issues raised by Upadhyay in the petition.
Upadhyay pleaded that he may be released and awarded compensation as his arrest was illegal.
A bomb strapped to a motorcycle had exploded in Bhiku Chowk are of Malegaon on September 29 last killing 7 and injuring more than 70. Eleven accused have been arrested in this case who are facing charges under MCOCA, IPC, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Arms Act and Explosives Substances Act.