Justice Revati Mohite-Dere on Friday recused herself from hearing any plea related to the Malegaon Bomb Blast case of 2008 in which Lt Col. Prasad Purohit and BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur are facing trial and the Elgar Parishad case.
A division bench headed by justice Dere was hearing a petition filed by Sameer Kulkarni, an accused in the case, alleging that the trial is being delayed and several relevant witnesses are yet to be examined in the case even after 14 years. He even pointed out the despite the orders of the HC and the Supreme Court which directed speedy trial, the trial was progressing in a tardy manner.
On Friday, Kulkarni pointed out to the court that in 2011, justice Dere had appeared for the prosecution when she was on the panel of prosecutors.
Counsel for the NIA said that the central investigating agency did not have any objection to justice Dere hearing the matter.
However, justice Dere recued from hearing the case.
Last month, the bench headed by Justice Dere had directed the special court under the National Investigation Agency Act to submit a report on a fortnightly basis regarding the progress of the trial to ensure that there is no further delay.
The court has also asked the NIA to ensure that more than one witness is kept present in court for examination to ensure that the trial is not unnecessarily adjourned.
Later in the day, Justice Dere also recused herself from hearing the plea filed by Arun Ferreira, one of the accused in the Elgar Parishad case, seeking default bail on parity with co-accused Sudha Bharadwaj in the case. Bhardwaj was granted default bail by the Bombay High Court on December 1, 2021.
Justice Dere recused herself from hearing the plea without assigning any reason.
His bail plea will now be listed for hearing before another bench of HC.
In his bail plea, filed through advocate Satyanarayanan R, Ferreira has said that his case stands on par with that of Bharadwaj. “The only distinguishing factor is that while the applicant (Ferreira) filed the default bail application (in the lower court) on the 94th day, co-accused Sudha Bharadwaj filed it on the 91st day,” read his plea.