MUMBAI: Notwithstanding Centre’s decision to hand over 2008 Malegaon blast probe to the NIA, the Maharashtra ATS on Thursday filed a charge-sheet alleging that Abhinav Bharat activist, Praveen Mutalik was the key conspirator in the bombings that left six people dead.
Mutalik, who is in his early 30s, was arrested by the ATS on January 31, this year from Gokak town in Belgaum district of Karnataka after evading the police for over two years.
Praveen Venkatesh Takalki alias Praveen Mutalik has been charged with various sections of the IPC, the Explosive Substances Act, the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
The 305-page charge-sheet claims that he had worked as a personal secretary to Lt Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, a key accused in the case, for three months before the blast. Purohit is in judicial custody now.
The charge-sheet, which has been filed despite National Investigation Agency planning to register a fresh case in the case, has claimed Mutalik as an “important link” in the criminal conspiracy to trigger blasts in Malegaon, a town famous for its power-loom industry.
It alleged that Mutalik assembled bombs and their fuses at the behest of Purohit.
Alleging that Mutalik had got training on how to assemble bombs, the ATS has charged him with aiding and abetting the crime. It has listed 40 witnesses in the charge-sheet against Mutalik.
The Maharashtra ATS had earlier claimed that on September 22, 2008, Mutalik had taken keys of the rented room of Sudhakar Chaturvedi (37), another arrested accused in the case, where the explosive devices were assembled.
“Forensic evidence has established that the samples of RDX collected from the room and the samples found at the site of the blast matched,” the police had said.
Six people were killed and scores wounded in the blast on September 29, 2008.
Two other accused in the case — Ramji Kalangsara and Sandeep Dange — are still on the run. The ATS has so far managed to arrest 12 people in this case including Sadhvi Pragya, whose motorcycle was allegedly used to trigger the blast.