Malegaon blast: When will trial get over, court asks NIA

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday sought to know from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) the estimated time by which trial in the September 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case would be completed.

A division bench of Justi­ces Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre was hearing a plea by one of the accused, Sameer Kulkarni, seeking for trial proceedings to be video recorded and a direction to the lower court to complete the trial within six months.

The court asked NIA advocate Sandesh Patil to inform within two weeks till what time the trial is expected to go on and give a schedule, stating by when it will be completed.

According to Patil, of the 475 prosecution witnesses, the trial court has to date examined only 124 witnesses.

Meanwhile, in another matter related to the case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) sought further time to submit a list of names of prosecution witnesses whom they propose to examine out of those whose statements have been truncated.

A division bench of Justices IA Mahanty and AM Badar was hearing a petition filed by Lt Col Prasad Purohit, another accused in the case, seeking non-truncated copies of the witnesses’ statements that are part of the charge sheet.

The bench posted the petition for hearing on August 2. Patil told the court NIA wou­ld not examine till then the evidence of the witnesses whose names and statements have been truncated.

The HC last week directed the NIA to give names of the prosecution witnesses whom they propose to examine out of those whose statements have been truncated.

Six people were killed and 100 injured when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, about 200 km from here, on September 29, 2008.

In October last year, a special court framed charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against Purohit, Pragya Singh Thakur (now a BJP MP), Kulkarni and some other accused persons in the case.

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