The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to file an affidavit detailing the status of the trial in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, which is underway in a special court here. A bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and V G Bisht directed the probe agency to inform the high court of the status of the trial and the number of witnesses examined so far. The NIA has been asked to file the affidavit within two weeks. The bench was hearing a plea filed in 2018 by Samir Kulkarni, one of the accused in the case.
Kulkarni, who is the 'party in person' in the case and argues his case on his own, has maintained that the trial has been unduly delayed and that relevant witnesses are left to be examined 13 years after the blast occurred. Kulkarni, in his plea, has claimed that despite previous orders of the Bombay High Court and Supreme Court directing that the trial in the case be expedited, it is going at a tardy pace. He has further alleged that the NIA and some accused persons in the case have "deliberately" been delaying the trial.
On Wednesday, the high court went through the older orders passed in the case, and also perused some reports submitted by the special court in the past relating to the case. It then asked the NIA to "file an affidavit detailing the status of the case, how many witnesses remained to be examined, etc". Six persons were killed and around 90 were injured when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, a town in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.
BJP MP Pragya Thakur is among those charged by the NIA in the case. In 2016, however, the NIA court had consented to the probe agency wanting to drop the stringent charges under the MCOCA Act against Thakur. Thakur continues to face charges in the case under several sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.