MUMBAI: All seven accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case were on Tuesday charged with terror conspiracy, murder and other offences by an NIA court. The next date of hearing in the case is November 2.
The trial court had earlier in the day rejected one of the accused Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit's plea to defer the framing of charges and said that the charges are ready.
Soon after the trial court framed the charges, all seven accused pleaded not guilty.
Earlier on Monday, the Bombay High Court had refused to stay framing of charges by the trial court. However, it had agreed to hear a petition filed by Purohit challenging his prosecution under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The court fixed November 21 as the date of hearing and directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) counsel Sandesh Patil to file a reply to the accused's plea by then.
HC noted that in the past, both the Supreme Court and the Bombay HC had passed orders directing the trial court to expedite the hearing in the case. The trial in a criminal case commences after charges are framed.
Six persons were killed and over a 100 injured when an explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon on September 29, 2008. Besides Purohit, the other accused in the case are Pragya Singh Thakur, Major (retd) Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Sudhakar Chaturvedi.