Malegaon blast case: ATS investigation riddled with loopholes, NIA tells Bombay High Court

In April 2011 the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) charge-sheeted Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyam Sahu, Pravin Takkalki, Lokesh Sharma and Dhansingh Chaudhari, but not Purohit, who NIA considers a main accused.

Malegaon blast case: ATS investigation riddled with loopholes, NIA tells Bombay High Court

In opposition to a bail plea by 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Purohit, National Investigation Agency (NIA) has revealed that it had not found sufficient evidence against six co-accused, and was thus dropping the prosecution against Sadhvi Pragya Singh and five others in the case.

In April 2011 the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) charge-sheeted Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyam Sahu, Pravin Takkalki, Lokesh Sharma and Dhansingh Chaudhari, but not Purohit, who NIA considers a main accused.


The reports quoted NIA special counsel Sandesh Patil as saying, "There were gaps in the material submitted by ATS and no coherency was found'', which was why NIA recommended dropping the case in its entirety against the six.

The counsel further said that while ATS had invoked the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), NIA had last year recommended that it be dropped against all 16 accused. The offences under other Acts, including the charge of committing acts of terror, under the Unlawful Activity (Prevention) Act (UAPA), remain intact along with offences under the Arms Act and Indian Penal Code (IPC).

In its statement, Patil also refuted the claim by Purohit's counsel, Shrikant Shivade, about sanction to prosecute him being improper. He said the Act allowed the government to grant sanction, which it had, to prosecute Purohit. On Shivade's arguments that lack of a review committee in the sanctioning process rendered it faulty, Patil cited Supreme Court judgements to show that the issue had to be decided during the trial, not before it.

Patil also said it had "not disowned entirely" the ATS probe report, and retained charges of terror acts under UAPA and other offences. He said, "certain gaps" in the ATS probe were sought to be filled by a further probe by NIA, which examined 109 witnesses, including 17 repeat witnesses.

The arguments continue on Friday before a bench of Justices Ranjit More and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi in the HC, when he will spell out details of Purohit's alleged role.