High Court releases nine Muslim men accused in Malegaon bomb blast
The Bombay High Court released nine Muslim men who were accused of playing a role in the Malegaon bomb blast and dropped all charges against them. The men had spent 5 years in jail before being released on bail in 2011.
The order was passed today after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) failed to gather and submit any evidence against them. Sessions Judge VV Patil, who was heading the bench that was hearing the discharge pleas of the accused, declared their release.
Back in September of 2006, a series of bombings shook Malegaon- a communally sensitive town of Nashik district, situated about 300 km from Mumbai- killing 37 people and leaving 125 injured.
The investigation of these blasts was first taken up by Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) who arrested Noorul Huda Samsudoha, Shabbir Ahmed Masiullah, Raees Ahmed Rajab Ali Mansuri, Salman Farsi Abdul Latif Aimi, Farogh Iqbal Ahmed Magdumi, Mohammad Ali Alam Sheikh, Asif Khan Bashir Khan alias Junaid, Mohammad Zahid Abdul Majid Ansari and Abrar Ahmed Gulam Ahmed.
Later, the case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) whose conclusion was in agreement with the ATS findings. Both these agencies alleged that the accused were members of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and had orchestrated the explosions with the help of the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
However, when the NIA then took over, their probe found no evidence linking the nine men to the blasts. Additionally, the NIA did not object to today’s court ruling, claiming that their evidence was ‘not in consonance’ with that of the ATS and CBI.
According to NIA’s investigation, members of the terror group ‘Abhinav Bharat’ carried out the blasts in 2006 as well as the subsequent blasts in 2008 in Malegaon.