New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said the issue of granting bail to former Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit and cancellation of bail of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, both accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, needed detailed consideration.
A bench of Justices R K Agrawal and M M Shantanagoudar listed the case for hearing on August 17, saying “this matter requires lengthy hearing” as both the pleas are on similar facts. Purohit has moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court’s order dismissing his bail plea. Nisar Ahmed Haji Sayed Bilal, father of one of the blast victims, has challenged the Bombay High Court order granting bail to Thakur alleging that she was a “powerful person” and could influence the witnesses in the case.
He has sought a stay on the high court’s April 25 order granting her bail, saying there was “no prima facie evidence against her”. The apex court had on July 28 sought Maharashtra government’s reply on the plea seeking cancellation of Thakur’s bail. The National Investigating Agency (NIA) had filed its reply in the case of Purohit, saying there was ample evidence against him, but no evidence against Thakur.
The apex court had on May 5 also sought a response from the NIA and the Maharashtra government on the plea of Purohit seeking bail. Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nasik district of north Maharashtra. A special MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) court had earlier ruled that the Anti-Terrorist Squad had wrongly applied this law against Thakur, Purohit and nine others.
The 4,000-page charge sheet had alleged that Malegaon was selected as the blast target because of a sizeable Muslim population there. It had named Thakur, Purohit and co-accused, Swami Dayanand Pandey as the key conspirators. It had alleged it was Pandey who had instructed Purohit to arrange explosive RDX, while Thakur owned the motorcycle which was used in the blast.
Ajay Rahirkar, another accused, allegedly organised funds for the terror act, while conspiracy meetings were held at Bhonsala Military School in Nasik, it had said. Rakesh Dhawde, Ramesh Upadhyay, Shyamlal Sahu, Shivnarain Kalsangra, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Jagdish Mhatre and Sameer Kulkarni were the other accused.