New Delhi: In a developments that could dilute the Malegaon blasts probe further,the National Investigation Agency (NIA) decided to give a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya Thakurnin the charge sheet to be filed in a Mumbai court on Friday.
The Malegaon blast in Nashik district of Maharashtra on September 29, 2008 claimed four lives and left nearly 80 others wounded when two bombs planted on a motorcycle exploded.
The chargesheet is likely to mention that the investigation conducted by former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, later killed in the 26/11 terror attack, was flawed, that the evidence produced against Colonel Prasad Purohit, another key accused, had been fabricated, and statements of witnesses were taken under duress, the IE reports.
According to the NIA, the investigation has failed to find any substantial evidence that establishes the Sadhvi’s involvement in the blast. The watering down of charges against her may set the stage for her early release from jail.
The final decision would however lie with the court and if the same is accepted she will walk free after 8 years. However, Purohit will remain a key accused in the charge-sheet to be filed by NIA.
Interestingly, the agency has decided to drop charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against Purohit and all other accused. They will now be charged under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the chargesheet will be filed in the UAPA court in Mumbai.
It is to be noted that the special prosecutor Rohini Salian in the case had, last year, said that she was being pressurized by the NIA to go soft on the accused ever since the new government came to power. She was later removed as the case prosecutor.