ATS charges Malegaon accused under stringent law (Second lead)November 20th, 2008 - 8:28 pm ICT by IANS
Mumbai, Nov 20 (IANS) The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharshtra police has charged all the 10 accused in the Malegaon blast under a stringent law that will allow the authorities to keep them in detention for six months before having to file a charge sheet. The accused include Sadhvi Pragnya Chandrapal Singh Thakur and a serving army official, Lt. Col. Prasad S. Purohit. ATS chief Hemant Karkare said here Thursday evening that all the 10 were being charged under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Under other sections of the law, the authorities would have had to file a charge sheet within 90 days.
Karkare said that investigations into the Sep 29 Malegaon blast, which left six dead and 20 injured, are on the verge of completion.
Karkare also firmly rejected the charge of any political pressure in the investigations. “There is no political pressure in the investigations into the Malegaon blast,” he said.
The ATS said it has found a video which shows Sadhvi Pragnya, self-styled spiritual guru Dayanand Pandey and Sameer Kulkarni, leader of the Madhya Pradesh-based radical Hindu group, Abhinav Bharat, together on stage. The trio is currently under arrest and in judicial custody in connection with the Malegaon blast.
The video was taken on April 12, 2008, in Bhopal at a function organised by Kulkarni and the group president Himani Savarkar, a relative of the late Hindutva ideologue and freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, known as Veer Savarkar.