Malegaon blasts: 4 years after FIR, NIA begins probe
Mumbai, July 25: With the Supreme Court dropping charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the accused in the Malegaon blasts case, the entire case needs to be looked at afresh.
There has already been a major delay in the case considering the Malegaon incident occurred in 2008. In the year 2011 it was transferred to the National Investigating Agency and an FIR was filed.
However, no investigation was conducted till date due to various legal hurdles which included the challenging of the MCOCA charges that were slapped on the accused persons.
NIA director to supervise the case
The director of the NIA, Sharad Kumar will supervise the case. He is expected to travel to Mumbai and have a word with the team. The Mumbai team of the NIA will be probing into the case. NIA officials said that the probe will commence after a meeting with the director on July 30th.
In addition to this the NIA will also have to take a fresh look at the entire case. When the FIRs were registered, the case was under the MCOCA.
However the Supreme Court recently quashed MCOCA charges against the accused persons, Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Lt Col. Purohit among others. In the wake of this development the cases have to be investigated under the other provisions of law.
The NIA has also received the papers from the Supreme Court in connection with this case. The papers which include several documents pertaining to the case were with the Supreme Court. However now the NIA is in possession of the same and hence can commence the probe four years after it filed the FIR.
Questioning the accused may take time
For now the NIA as part of the probe will examine the chargesheet that was filed by the Maharashtra ATS. This case has had multiple twists and turns. While at first the investigations stated that the Malegaon blast was the handiwork of some Islamic groups, the ATS later said in its case files that it was carried out by extremist Hindus.
The NIA will have to question the accused persons most of them who have been in jail for nearly 5 years now without bail.
However, there are still some formalities which include a bail plea by the accused that is pending. The Supreme Court will need to be approached if the NIA has to take into custody the accused for interrogation.
In addition to this the NIA will also have to set up a special court. The Bombay High Court had made it clear that if the accused persons have to seek bail, then they would have to do so before a special court.
The NIA is yet to set up this special court. However the NIA says that the special court will be set up soon. With the investigations commencing, there is a need for a special court to hear this matter on priority and on a daily basis.