Judge Emphasizes Court’s Role in 2008 Malegaon Blast Hearing is Not Meant for Collecting Evidence

Malegaon Blast Case Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: 24 August 2023 at 16:50 IST

Special NIA court Judge AK Lahoti emphasized the distinction between the court’s role and the prosecuting agency’s responsibilities during a hearing related to the 2008 Malegaon blast trial.

Judge Lahoti rejected an application submitted by a witness who discussed a meeting of the right-wing organization Abhinav Bharat in Bhopal in November 2008.

The witness had expressed concern over the state of a CD containing a news clip that was broadcast on November 19, 2008. He claimed that the CD of the meeting, which had been submitted with the chargesheet earlier, was now damaged.

The witness pointed out that an ATS officer possessed a copy of the CD and requested that the court instruct the officer to produce it as evidence.

However, Judge Lahoti highlighted that the court’s primary role is not to collect evidence for either the prosecution or the defense. While acknowledging that documents held by the investigating agency must be presented, Judge Lahoti made it clear that a witness or an accused cannot ask the court to summon such documents.

The judge explained that the court should consider the necessity and relevance of the documents based on the information provided by the party seeking their production.

Judge Lahoti remarked that the witness’s application seemed to be an attempt to delay the trial. The accused and their legal representatives opposed the witness’s contention, stating that there was no record of an additional copy of the CD.

They questioned the witness’s eligibility to submit such an application and argued that they lacked information about the CD’s origin and details.

The 2008 Malegaon blast involved a motorcycle rigged with a bomb, allegedly belonging to Bhopal BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.

The explosion occurred at Bhiku Chowk in Malegaon, resulting in fatalities and injuries on September 29, 2008. The prosecution alleged that Lt Col Prasad Purohit, a serving army officer at the time, was part of meetings of Abhinav Bharat where alleged conspiratorial discussions took place.

The trial commenced in 2018 after the special NIA court framed charges against Purohit, Thakur, and five others for offenses such as terrorism, criminal conspiracy, and murder.

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