2nd September 2022, has come up with two different arguments. The defence lawyers in the 2008 Malegaon blast have alleged that the blast near Bhikku Chowk in the bike belonging to Pragya Thakur was accidental. The forensic expert who was examined by the prosecution last month also said during the cross-examination by the defence lawyers that he could not scientifically say that the explosives were kept beneath Pragya Singh Thakur’s bike’s seat. The prosecution last month examined the forensic expert who studied the scene of the offence, bike and other articles from the spot. The defence has alleged that the police planted the articles on the spot.
The witness claimed that during the spot examination, he could not find the centre point of the blast. The defence alleged that since the expert could not find any crater, detonator or wire it is possible that the articles could be planted at the place. The forensic expert further stated that he could not define what type of explosive substance was used in the blast from which nitrite was detected. During the cross-examination of the forensic expert, the defence put up a theory that the blast actually took place at Nissar Dairy and due to its impact, the vehicles — Honda Unicorn bike and LML Freedom — caught fire and burst. The witness declined the theory but admitted that the blast may be artificial or accidental.
Here was another case of Gadchiroli blast, National Investigation Agency (NIA) has claimed that Rona Wilson, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, met with an accused who is wanted in the deaths of 15 police personnel in the Jamburkheda blast in Gadchiroli. An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast had gone off in May 2019, and Bhupathi (alias Sona/Abhay) who Wilson reportedly met, is one of the main accused but remains absconding. The NIA, which is probing both Elgar Parishad as well as the Gadchiroli blast cases, relied on statements of certain protected witnesses offering proof and significance to make the connection between the two cases. It is, however, unclear what role, if any, was played by Elgar Parishad, accused in the blast case.
Last week, the special NIA court allowed the investigation agency to add statements of two former members of CPI (Maoist), referred to as KW 2 and KW 3 in order to protect their identities, while hearing the Gadchiroli blast matter. KW 2 and KW 3’s statements were originally recorded by the NIA in the Elgar Parishad case and are part of the chargesheets already filed before the court.
The NIA plea contends that the certified copies of the statements of the protected witnesses are being used by the prosecution as additional evidence in the 2019 Gadchiroli blast case. On 1 May 2019, a landmine killed 15 Indian police and their driver in Gadchiroli, state of Maharashtra. Police have blamed the blast on Maoist because they are common in the area. The attack took place after Maoist set 25 vehicles on fire. Alleged Maoist leader Nirmala Uppuganti was also an accused in the blast case, died of a prolonged illness at a hospice centre in April this year, while Rani, who is a co-accused, is currently lodged in Arthur Road Jail. In the bail plea filed through senior counsel Yug Mihit Chaudhry and advocate Payoshi Roy, Rani claimed that there was no evidence against him in the case.Roy informed a bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and VG Bisht that the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is the prosecuting agency in the case, had “no material on record” against Rani.
In the Malegaon 2008 blast forensic officer told the special court (WHEN) that explosive ingredients detected at the blast site were “similar” to the samples seized from the home of an accused. The forensic expert was the 261st witness to depose in the case. His testimony, running into 89 pages, details the forensic analysis done by him during the investigation into the blast at Malegaon.
He told the court during his examination-in-chief by special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal that on November 25, 2008, his office had received a letter from an official of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) asking him to accompany them to search the home of one of the accused, Sudhakar Chaturvedi. He told the court that he informed his superior and went to the spot where he met ATS officers. After Chaturvedi was unable to produce the key to his house, the ATS officials broke open the lock. The witness said he had conducted a forensic analysis at Chaturvedi’s residence. An ATS officer had also shown him a detonator found in a cupboard. Based on the samples analysed, he had given his opinion that the “explosive ingredients – RDX, ammonium and nitrate radicals – detected at the blast site are similar to that … in samples seized from the accused place”. The witness also mentioned that he had observed that the explosive material was put under the seat of the bike found at the blast site. During cross-examination, however, he told the court that it cannot be said ‘scientifically’. The accused Pragya Thakur Singh was granted bail on her health grounds and she is now BJP leader. Rona Wilson and other accused in Gadchiroli blast are in jail and labeled as urban Naxals.