Malegaon blast; NIA names four in charge sheet

Mumbai, May 22 (IANS) The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Wednesday filed its charge sheet against four men, accused in the 2006 Malegaon bomb blast case, before a Special MCOCA court, officials said.

The charge sheet, filed before Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) Court Judge Prithviraj Chavan has named Lokesh Sharma, Dhan Singh, Rajendra Choudhary and Manohar Narwaria, who were arrested during the past one year, said an NIA source.

They have been charged with murder, planning and conspiring and triggering the deadly blast during Friday afternoon ‘namaaz’ near Hamidiya Mosque.

Besides these four, the NIA probe continues against several other accused in the Sep 8, 2006, blast case which left 37 dead and more than 125 injured.

Soon after the blasts, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad had nabbed nine Muslim youths from Malegaon as suspects in the blast.

They were: Noorul Huda Shamsud Doha, Shabbir Ahmed Massiullah, Raees Ahmed Rajjab Ali Mansuri, Salman Farsi Abdul Latif Aimi, Farokh Iqbal Ahmed Magdumi, Mohammed Ali Alam Shaikh, Asif Bashir Khan, Mohammed Zahif Abdul Majeed Ansari and Abrar Ahmed (who later turned approver).

However, in 2011, after the role of a Hindu right-wing group in the terror strike came to the light with the arrest of Swami Aseemananda, the NIA investigations took a different course.

“All the nine accused (above) were granted bail after the Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra took up their case in the Special MCOCA Court. Special Judge Y.D. Shinde granted bail and the NIA did not oppose it,” said JUM spokesperson and lawyer Shahid N. Ansari.

Interestingly, the probe by ATS had been taken over by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which endorsed the ATS’s findings until the NIA exposed the new dimension to the blast case and the probe.

After Wednesday’s charge sheet, the NIA is likely to file a supplementary charge sheet in the near future, naming more accused in the case, Ansari said.

Malegaon, a Muslim-dominated powerloom town in Nashik district, around 300 km from here, was rocked by another terror strike on Sep 29, 2008. The blast killed six people and injured over 60 others.

It was allegedly perpetrated by Hindu right-wing activists, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and others.

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