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ATS to file chargesheet in Malegaon blast case

Jan 20, 2009 11:00 AM IST India India

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) will file a chargesheet against all the accused in the Malegaon blast case before the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA) court in Mumbai “We have given the permission. The police will file a chargesheet before the deadline,” says Maharashtra Home Minister Jayant Patil. Six people were killed and more than 70 were injured in the September 29, 2008 Malegaon blast and most of the accused are believed to be members of a Hindu terror group. The breakthrough in the case had come in October and November last year. It began with recovery of the motorcycle used in the blast which led investigators to arrest Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in Surat. Along with the sadhvi ATS arrested Shyam Lal Sahu for aiding in the blasts and Shivnarayan Kalsangra for allegedly assembling the bombs. Sameer Kulkarni, Retd Major Ramesh Upadhayay and serving Indian Army officer Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Prasad Purohit were arrested for their alleged hand in the conspiracy. Self-proclaimed godman Swami Dayanand Pandey was also named as a co-conspirator. The ATS is banking on some crucial evidence it has collected. It includes - the forensic report which says RDX was used in the bomb; recordings of the meetings between the sadhvi, Lt Col Purohit and Swami Dayanand Pandey; SMSs exchanged between Lt Col Purohit and Major Ramesh Upadhyay; recorded telephone conversations between the sadhvi and the alleged bomber Ramnarayan Singh Kalsangra and the confessional statement of Dayanand Pandey. Yet the defence claims the ATS' case is weak. “They have not been able to establish any specific material required,” says defence lawyer Navin Chomal. Maharashtra ATS has booked all the accused under 120 B for conspiracy of Malegaon blasts. But with the three main executioners of the blast still at large, it'll be interesting to see how the police will prove this in the court - something which is also essential to ensure conviction in the case.