Bombay HC Issues Notices to Those Discharged in 2006 Malegaon Blasts Case

Police stand watch over the scene of an earlier blast in Malegaon, 2006. Credit: Reuters

Police stand watch over the scene of an earlier blast in Malegaon, 2006. Credit: Reuters

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Thursday issued notices to eight people who were discharged earlier this year from the 2006 Malegaon bomb blasts case, seeking their response to a petition filed by the Maharashtra government, which appealed against their discharge.

According to the Times of India, the eight men – Noorul Huda, Raees Ahmed, Salman Farsi, Farogh Magdumi, Shaikh Mohammed Ali, Asif Khan, Mohammed Zahid and Abrar Ahmed – were discharged by a special court on April 26, 2016. The court’s decision to absolve the men of all terror charges was based on the National Investigation Agency’s findings that showed the 2006 blasts were the handiwork of a Hindu extremist group.

The state government received a certified copy conveying the court’s April decision on May 9 and could have filed a plea against the order within 30 days of this date. However, the state claimed it could not file an appeal before June 10, saying the delay was because of the prosecutor’s office, according to a Times of India report.

The Maharashtra government has moved the high court to appeal against the sessions court’s order, urging the high court to set it aside. Additional public prosecutor Mankunwar Deshmukh presented the Maharashtra government’s plea, the same report from Times of India stated.

The high court division bench, comprising justices R. V. More and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, issued notices to the eight men and asked them to respond to the state government’s appeal within four weeks.

In its appeal, the state government said the sessions court’s order was illegal, unjust and contradicted the evidence present on record.

The state also claimed the trial court’s conclusion – that Muslims would not plant bombs inside a mosque – was wrong and had no legal basis.

The serial bomb blasts, which took place outside a cemetery near Hamidia mosque at Malegaon, near Nashik, on September 8, 2006, claimed 37 lives and injured over 100 people.

(With inputs from PTI)