Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday granted bail to four prime accused in the Malegaon 2006 blasts case nearly seven years after they were arrested. Lokesh Sharma, Manohar Nawaria, Rajendra Choudhary and Dhan Singh have been in jail since their arrest in 2013.
A division bench comprising Justice I.A. Mahanty and Justice A.M. Badar granted them bail after submission of Rs 50,000 each. It directed them to appear daily during the trial, and not influence witnesses or tamper with the evidence. The four accused had applied for bail in the High Court in 2016, after their earlier bail pleas were rejected by a Special Court. On September 8, 2006 during Friday afternoon prayers around 1 p.m., bombs planted on bicyles went off near the Hamidiya Mosque killing 37 people and injuring over 150 others.
The incident sent shockwaves in the Muslim-dominated powerloom town in Nashik. The local police and the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested nine persons after the initial probe. The case was later investigated by the CBI and subsequently by the NIA. In April 2016, a Special Court acquitted all the nine Muslim youths on grounds of insufficient evidence to prove their involvement in the case. Two years later on September 29, 2008, the town was shaken by another blast that was allegedly masterminded by Hindu fanatic groups, the trial for which is currently underway. (IANS)