In a new development in the Malegaon blast case, the Bombay High court has asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) how the trial court and the NIA itself had verified the authenticity of the photocopies of some documentary evidence that were relied upon in the Malegaon blast case.
“How do you (NIA) or the special court know that these are copies of the original statements? How did you verify that?”, the court asked.
The question was raised by a Bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice A S Gadkari during the hearing of a bunch of appeals filed by one of the accused Sameer Kulkarni in the case, challenging the decision of a special NIA court which allowed the probe agency to bring the photocopies of the missing statements of witnesses and confessions of the accused on record and lead evidence.
The probe agency had submitted before the special NIA court that some of the files containing the original witness statements and confessions of accused taken recorded under section 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) had gone missing. The probe agency had pleaded for photocopies to be taken on record. The special NIA court in January 2017 had allowed the probe agency to use the photocopies as secondary evidence.
Kulkarni had challenged the decision of the special court in his appeal on the ground that there was no evidence to prove the authenticity of the photocopies. The special court had in October last year framed charges against Sadhvi Pragya and Col Purohit in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. The accused were arrested by the police in 2008 and were lodged in jail since then. Sadhvi Pragya was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in April 2017 observing that there was no prima facie case made out against her.
There have been accusations of political interference and fabrication on the UPA government in the investigation in the Malegaon blast case.