Malegaon blast: NIA court allows accused Lt Col Purohit to examine seven witnesses

Malegaon blast: NIA court allows accused Lt Col Purohit to examine seven witnesses

Mumbai | A special court in Mumbai has allowed Lt Col Prasad Purohit, an accused in the September 2008 Malegaon bomb blast, to examine seven witnesses in the case.

Purohit, facing trial in the 16-year-old case along with six others, had sought court permission to examine nine witnesses on the point of his sanction for prosecution, illegal arrest and detention and handing over his custody to the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS).

A senior Army official is among the nine witnesses mentioned by Purohit.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) objected to examination of the Army official, saying his testimony had already been recorded by prosecution and he had been cross-examined at length.

Judge A K Lahoti of the special court for NIA cases in Mumbai, in an order passed on Monday, allowed Purohit to examine seven witnesses.

The Army official's name was dropped by the court as he has already been examined by the prosecution. The name of another witness was dropped as his address was not provided by Purohit.

The trial is in its last stages and the special court has been recording final statements of the accused under section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or CrPC (related to power to examine the accused).

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

The case was probed by the ATS before being transferred to the NIA in 2011.

Purohit and 6 others, including BJP leader Pragya Singh Thakur, are facing trial in the case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the Explosive Substances Act, the Arms Act and the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

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