New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur and other accused in 2008 Malegaon blast case are set to to appear before the Special NIA Court on Monday. 

On December 19, Thakur's lawyer JP Mishra had stated that it is the National Investigation Agency (NIA) who is delaying the trial in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, and not them.

Special NIA court judge P R Sitre had directed all the accused to present in the court on December 3. However, Thakur and three others did not appear in the court. Only three of the accused turned up before the judge. The lawyers of the remaining accused told the court that their clients were absent due to the COVID-19 situation.

Six people were killed and over 100 others injured when an explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, a town about 200 km from Mumbai in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.

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.

Purohit, in his plea filed in September this year, sought that charges against him be quashed, since the NIA had failed to get a prior sanction under Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) Section 197.

Section 197 of the CrPC lays down the procedure for prosecution of public servants and mandates that a prior sanction be sought from the government.

Purohit said in the absence of prior sanction, the trial court couldn't have taken cognisance of the charges.

As per the plea, Purohit was working for the Indian Army's military intelligence unit and had attended the alleged conspiracy meetings before the blast as part of "discharging his duties".

The NIA had opposed the plea, saying Purohit had attended the meetings in his personal capacity and not as part of discharging his duties.

Purohit, who was arrested in 2009, was reinstated in the Army in 2017 after he was granted bail by the Supreme Court.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta