Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 23 (ANI): Another witness in the 2008 Malegaon blast case was declared hostile after he did not support the prosecution's case on Thursday.
The hostile witness had initially given statements under CrPC 161 and 164 when ATS was initially investigating the case. According to the prosecution, this is the 30th witness to turn hostile in the caseIn November last year, the 29th witness had turned hostile in the case.
This person had given statements to the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in 2008 about accused Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sudhakar Chaturvedi.
Previously, the 28th witness turned hostile on November 5 after he told the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court that he does not remember the statement he had given to earlier investigative agency- Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS).
This witness had reportedly given a statement against the sitting Bhopal MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and another accused, identified as Dayanand Pandey, of this case during the initial investigation done by Maharashtra ATS.
However, on November 5, he came before the special NIA court and was confronted with the facts of his statement. He said that he doesn't remember what he had said in his statement to Maharashtra ATS earlier. He told the special NIA court that he is 75 years old and that is why it is difficult for him to remember what he had said in his statement.
Earlier in September and August, two other witnesses of the case had turned hostile during the special NIA court hearing. One of them, who worked at a hotel in Indore, refused to partially say in court what he had stated earlier to the investigating agency.
On September 29, 2008, six people were killed and over 100 others were injured after an explosive device placed on a motorcycle exploded in Maharashtra's Malegaon city in Nashik town.
On October 23, 2008, the Maharashtra ATS made its first arrest in connection to the case by apprehending BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.
Later, other accused including Sameer Kulkarni, retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Ajay Rahilkar and Sudhakar Chaturvedi were also caught.
On January 20, 2009, the ATS filed a charge sheet in the case after completing its investigation. In April 2011, the central government transferred the investigation into the case to the NIA (ANI)