Special NIA court orders all accused in Malegaon blast case to remain present in next hearing

Special NIA court orders all accused in Malegaon blast case to remain present in next hearing

Mumbai (Maharashtra): Expressing displeasure over the absence of the 2008 Malegaon blast accused during a hearing on Saturday, despite strict orders for their physical appearance, a special NIA court in Mumbai directed them to remain present on January 4, when the matter would be taken up next.

Notably, only four of the seven accused were present before the court today. During the previous hearing earlier this month, the court had taken note of the presence of only three accused — Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, Sameer Kulkarni and Ajay Rahirkar — and had directed all the accused in the case to be present on Saturday.

Besides these three, BJP MP Pragya Thakur, Major (retired) Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Sudhakar Chaturvedi are also accused in the case.

The accused have been charged under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the Explosive Substances Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The charges include sections 16 (committing terrorist act) and 18 (conspiring to commit terrorist act) of the UAPA and sections 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 153(a) (promoting enmity between two religious groups) of the IPC.

Six people were killed and over 100 injured when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon town of north Maharashtra on September 29, 2008.

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