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Friday, September 2, 2011

HOME-GROWN TERRORISTS: Malegaon blast case: SC reserves order on Pragya bail plea!

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Courtesy: PTI / The Hindu / NEW DELHI, September 1, 2011.

Malegaon blast accused, Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur is taken to court in Mumbai on January 20, 2009. Photo: Vivek Bendre
Malegaon blast accused, Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur is taken to court in Mumbai on January 20, 2009. Photo: Vivek Bendre - The Hindu.

The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on the bail plea of Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur who is facing charges under MCOCA for her alleged involvement in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case.

A bench of judges J M Panchal and H L Gokhale reserved the order after hearing all the parties, including Maharashtra government which opposed the bail plea.

Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for Pragnya Singh Thakur, pleaded with the court to grant her bail as she had been subjected to harassment, physical torture and verbal abuses by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) squad during her "illegal" custody from October 10, 2008 onwards.

Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nasik district of Maharashtra. The probe into the blast had brought into focus the alleged involvement of some right-wing Hindu groups.

Jethmalani submitted Ms. Thakur was entitled to bail as Maharashtra's ATS had failed to file the charge sheet against her within the mandatory 90 days of her arrest on October 23, 2008.

Maharashtra government counsel Asha Nair, however, took the plea that Ms. Thakur was arrested on October 23 and produced before a magistrate as required under the law.

Ms. Pragnya approached the apex court challenging refusal of bail by the Bombay high court.

The high court had ordered that Pragnya and ten other accused in the Malegaon bomb blast case will face trial under MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) and had quashed the decision of the special court which had dropped the charges under the special law.

A special MCOCA court had on July 31 last year ruled that the Anti Terrorist Squad had wrongly applied MCOCA in the case against Pragnya and ten others.



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