NIA clean chit to Pragya Thakur, 5 oth­ers in Male­gaon blast case

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Charul Shah let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

MUM­BAI: The Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency (NIA) dropped all charges against re­li­gious leader Pragya Thakur (in pic) and five oth­ers for lack of ev­i­dence in the 2008 Male­gaon blast case, say­ing a shoddy probe by Ma­ha­rash­tra au­thor­i­ties forced the U-turn.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors re­voked pro­vi­sions of the strin­gent Ma­ha­rash­tra Con­trol of Or­gan­ised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the case and al­leged the Ma­ha­rash­tra Anti-Ter­ror­ism Squad (ATS) planted ex­plo­sives on one of the ac­cused.

The Septem­ber 2008 blast in the Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity Male­gaon town killed six peo­ple and in­jured 101. HT had re­ported on April 24 that the NIA was plan­ning to let Thakur and oth­ers off the hook for lack of ev­i­dence.

The NIA charge sheet trig­gered Op­po­si­tion al­le­ga­tions of Hindu ter­ror sus­pects be­ing let off un­der gov­ern­ment pres­sure.

When asked if er­rant ATS of­fi­cials will be pros­e­cuted, Ma­ha­rash­tra chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis ap­peared non-com­mit­tal. “I am not aware of the de­tails of what NIA has sub­mit­ted, so I will not be able to com­ment on it at the mo­ment.”

The charge sheet said an as­sis­tant po­lice in­spec­tor Shekhar Ba­gade went to the house of an ac­cused, Sud­hakar Chaturvedi, when he wasn’t at home on Novem­ber 3, 2008. >> CON­TIN­UED ON P13 >> RE­LATED RE­PORTS, P5 & P6

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