On 25 February, the Bombay High Court asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to explain the reasons for the delay in the trial in the 2008 Malegaon blasts that had killed six people and injured 101.
The division bench of acting Chief Justice BP Dharmadhikari and Justice NR Borkar was hearing a petition filed by an accused Sameer Kulkarni, who has alleged that the National Investigation Agency and some of the other co-accused are deliberately delaying the trial. The bench observed that there has not been any ‘effective progress’ in the case and has further expressed disappointment at the pace of the trial. Subsequently, the court asked the investigating agency to explain the reason for such delay.
The petitioner, Mr. Kulkarni the only accused amongst many in the case who travels to court for every hearing, has submitted to the court, that the High Court in October 2018 had ordered the special NIA court in Mumbai to expedite the trial, but in the last six months only 14 witnesses were examined.
“Prosecution had said that by December 2020, they will wrap up this case, but in the past six months only 14 witnesses have been brought to the court” stated Sameer Kulkarni.
After perusing the reports on Tuesday, the HC said, “Prima facie we find that there has not been any effective progress in the trial as of now.”
Subsequently, the court directed the NIA to explain the adjournments and also to state as to when it would complete the trial.
On 30 October 2018, the special NIA court had framed charges of murder, abetment, and conspiracy for the blasts against Member of Parliament Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, Sameer Kulkarni, retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Ajay Rahilkar, and Sudhakar Chaturvedi. All the accused allegedly conspired from January 2008 to plant bombs on 29 September.
The matter is scheduled for the next hearing on 16 March.