Malegaon Blast: Accused Lt Col Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya & 5 Others Charged Under Terror Laws
On October 30, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court charged the accused in Malegaon blast – Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and five others under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). They have been charged with terror conspiracy, murder and other related offences, as reported by India Today.
Seven persons charged
The verdict was pronounced by Justice Vinod Padalkar at the special NIA court. Apart from Lt Col Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya, the other five are Major (Retd) Ramesh Upadhyay, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi, Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Sameer Kulkarni.
The seven have been charged under UAPA, section 16 (punishment for a terrorist act), under sections of IPC including murder and attempt to murder. Apart from this, they have been also charged under sections of Explosive Substances Act. The Malegaon blast incident took place on September 28, 2008, when 6 people died and nearly 100 people were injured when a motorcycle bomb exploded in Malegaon, Nashik.
A complete list of documents and witnesses will be submitted by the prosecution on November 2, until which the court is adjourned.
The court said that the seven including two absconding persons – Ramchandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange planned a criminal conspiracy between January and October 2008. Through the organisation Abhinaya Bharat, they created communal disharmony, the court added. The court also said that one of the absconding accused caused the blast on September 29, 2008, by strapping an explosive device on a motorcycle, as reported The Indian Express.
On October 30, Lt Col Purohit sought for deferring of this verdict until he gets the opportunity to approach the Supreme Court for a stay till applicability of UAPA is decided. Purohit’s lawyer said that the terror charges were “worse than the death penalty” for him.
However, Justice Padalkar said that the apex court gave no such stay. It may be noted that all the accused had been under custody for nine years, and were out on bail since August-September 2017.
What is UAPA?
UAPA Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is a law framed in India in order to prevent unlawful activities. Its main objective is to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India. UAPA was enacted on December 30, 1967.