No need to keep the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case in judicial custody as a charge sheet has been filed in the matter, The National Investigation Agency (NIA) told the Supreme Court on Monday.
A bench of Justices R K Agrawal and A M Sapre was told by counsel for NIA that they were not pressing any more for the custody of accused in the case.
“Charge sheet has been filed in the case and argument on framing of charges is going on and at the moment the agency is not pressing for police custody of the accused”, the counsel said.
The bench after recording the submission adjourned the matter for further hearing.
Lt Col Shrikant Purohit and other accused Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi, have moved apex court saying that the investigation has remained incomplete with NIA failing to file charge sheet and his detention without trial is illegal.
They have sought bail and expeditious hearing of the case saying that due to the tardy pace of investigation by NIA, they have suffered for all these years.
The apex court had earlier directed the special court in Maharashtra to expedite the hearing in the case and decide on the bail pleas of the accused Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.
The court had said that, barring accused Rakesh D Dhawade, who is alleged to be involved in other similar cases in Parbhani and Jalna before the Malegaon blast, the provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA) would not be considered while dealing with the bail applications of the other accused persons.
It had said there was “considerable doubt” about the involvement of other accused in Parbhani and Jalna blasts cases and “therefore, they are entitled for their bail applications to be considered on merit”.
The apex court had also asked the special court to commence trial at the earliest and conclude it expeditiously, noting that the matter pertained to 2008.
Seven people were killed in the blast on September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town of Nasik district in North Maharashtra. The probe into the blast brought into focus the activities of right-wing Hindu groups.
A special court had earlier ruled that Anti Terrorist Squad had wrongly applied MCOCA in the case against Pragya, Purohit and nine others.
Last year, in its secondary supplementary charge sheet the agency has cited lack of evidence against Sadhvi as the reason, and also stated that the draconian MCOCA was not applicable in the case. Purohit, however, remained a key accused in the case.
The NIA, however, has recommended prosecution against Ramesh Shivaji Upadhyay, Sameer Sharad Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Rakesh Dhawde, Jagdish Chintaman Mahatre, Prasad Shrikant Puruhit, Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Ramchandra Kalsangra (wanted) and Sandeep Dange (wanted) under the Indian Penal Code, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Arms Act and the Explosives Substances Act.