The special judge hearing the Malegaon 2006 and 2008 blasts probe on Friday exempted the 12 chargesheeted accused from remaining present for the hearing even as he indicated that a new judge is likely to hear the case as per an earlier Supreme Court directive.
This was the first hearing on Malegaon 2008 blasts case after Special Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian told The Indian Express that she had been asked to go soft on the blast case involving Hindu extremists.
On Friday, instead of Rohini Salian, Public Prosecutor Geeta Godambe appeared for National Investigation Agency before special judge Y D Shinde who has beens hearing the Malegaon 2006 and 2008 blasts probe in the special NIA court. She was accompanied by two inspectors of NIA.
While the 2006 Malegaon blasts has two separate sets of accused, it is the Malegaon 2008 probe which exposed the involvement of Hindu extremists, including a serving Lt Col and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.
“I have come here because it’s a regular day. I don’t know who will be conducting the trial,” Godambe said earlier. She added that she was not going to divulge “internal decisions” on which the public prosecutor is assigned for regular hearings.
Salian had earlier told The Indian Express that on May 22, 2013 when she sought an extension from the NIA court in the Malegaon 2006 blast probe, the agency filed a chargesheet through Godambe on the same probe. While Salian had represented NIA on the Malegaon 2006 case till April 20, it’s Godambe who represented NIA on June 12 and June 30.
A court official on Friday showed them a copy of the proceedings register, signed by Special Judge Y D Shinde, dated July 9, 2015. The register cited a Supreme Court order which asked for another court to now look into the matter.
The register further included NIA’s earlier statement to the court that a letter had been sent to the Centre for the appointment of a new judge and a special court for the Malegaon 2008 case. Judge Y D Shinde noted that if a notification for a new court comes ready, then the accused are to remain present before the new court immediately.
The court official then told NIA and Godambe that the next regular hearing will be on August 1. The matter was over in less than ten minutes with nothing else listed on the board. The same court which also hears MCOCA case, will not be taking any important matter till it delivers the 7/11 judgement.
Asked to comment on the hearing, Rohini Salian said she was not aware of it and she was in a different court during the day. “I am not tracking the case anymore as once I take myself off something, I take it out of my mind,” she told The Indian Express.