NIA court issues arrest warrant against panch witness in 2008 Malegaon blast case

On September 29, 2018, six people were killed and dozen others were injured when a bomb placed on motorcycle exploded in Malegaon.

Mumbai: A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Thursday issued an arrest warrant against a panch witness in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blast case.

Special NIA Judge Vinod Padalkar issued an arrest warrant against a witness in the case who had signed the panchnama while the damage by the blasts was being ascertained.

The court directed the prosecution (NIA) to take note that witnesses should remain present in the court without fail as the trial is going on a day-to-day basis while the accused persons are directed to be present once a week.

Since it is a bailable warrant, the witness would have to pay Rs. 5,000 as bail bond.

The court also observed that on many dates only one witness is called by the agency while on others the witnesses do not appear.

"It is not possible for the court to decide the matter and expedite it as directed by the Supreme Court and for this, the copy of this order will be forwarded to the higher authority of NIA," Judge Padalkar said.

On Tuesday, the court allowed the application of Bhopal MP Pragya Singh Thakur for the exemption from appearance on that day.

As the BJP leader was not present before the court, Special NIA Judge Vinod Padalkar adjourned the hearing in the matter till Thursday.

She is likely to appear before the court later this week, her lawyer had said.

The court had on Monday directed Thakur and all other accused in the case to appear before it once a week.

Besides Thakur, the other accused are Lt Col Prasad Purohit, Major (retired) Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Dwivedi, Ajay Rahirkar, Sameer Kulkarni and Sudhakar Chaturvedi.

They have been charged under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The charges include sections 16 (committing terrorist act) and 18 (conspiring to commit terrorist act) of the UAPA and sections 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 153 (a) (promoting enmity between two religious groups) of the IPC.

The accused have also been charged under relevant sections of the Explosive Substances Act.

On September 29, 2018, six people were killed and a dozen others were injured when a bomb placed on a motorcycle exploded in Maharashtra's Malegaon city.

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