2008 Malegaon blast trial: NIA witness on Thakur, Purohit’s Hindutva lectures declared hostile

2008 Malegaon blast trial: NIA witness on Thakur, Purohit’s Hindutva lectures declared hostile

The witness had earlier made revelations in his statement regarding numerous meetings he attended of the right wing outfit Abhinav Bharat

Bhavna UchilUpdated: Thursday, March 23, 2023, 09:46 PM IST
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Sadhvi Pragya Thakur | PTI

Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday declared as hostile a witness in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. The witness had earlier made revelations in his statement regarding numerous meetings he attended of the right wing outfit Abhinav Bharat, where Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit and his co-accused, BJP MP Pragya Thakur, gave Hindutvavadi lectures alongside Swami Aseemanand. 

Aseemanand was accused in three terror attacks

Aseemanand was accused in three terror attacks – Ajmer Dargah bombing, Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid blast and Samjhauta Express Bombings. He has been acquitted in all three. 

The witness was declared hostile as he denied that his statements were recorded by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which probed the case before the NIA took over. On Thursday, he said before the court, on a suggestion by defence lawyers, that he had been illegally detained and subjected to mental torture by the ATS.

He also denied that his statement was recorded before a magistrate under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Statements recorded thus are considered to be given voluntarily as the magistrate makes sure that the witness is not under pressure of anyone.

In his statement in Nov 2008 witness had said that he was not acquainted with Purohit

In his statement recorded in Nov 2008, the witness had said that he was not acquainted with Purohit and also briefly worked with military intelligence on his suggestion. Further, he had said that Purohit had spoken to him about propagating the ideology of Shivaji, Savarkar and Hindutva and building an organisation. 

The witness had mentioned in his statement that in April 2008, he went to Bhopal for an Abhinav Bharat programme on Purohit’s invitation in which among 200 persons present were Sadhvi Pragya, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Shankaracharya, Aseemanand and Purohit. All except Assemanand are accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. 

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