22 Jan : A special MCOCA court in Mumbai will pass its order on the validity of invocation of stringent provisions of MCOCA in the Malegaon blast case on Thursday.The Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) had yesterday filed its chargesheet against 14 accused in the case charging them under MCOCA, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Indian Penal Code (IPC), Arms Act and Explosive Substances Act.
Defence lawyers in the case had however argued that before the court takes cognisance of the chargesheet it should first look into the merits of invocation of MCOCA on the accused.MCOCA was invoked after one of the accused Rakesh Dhawde was chargehseeted in two other cases.
Shrikant Shivde, advocate for Lt Col Prasad Purohit, who had been named as the main conspirator in the chargesheet, had argued that both the chargesheets against Dhawde were filed after the Malegaon blast on 29th September.
"Dhawde was arrested and produced before a court in Nashik on November 15, 2008. On the same day, the prosecution filed a supplementary chargesheet against him in the 2004 Jalna blast case," Shivde said.
He said the court had however taken cognisance of that chargesheet only on November 28 while the prosecution invoked MCOCA in the Malegaon case on 20th November.
"Technically, prior to invocation of MCOCA, Dhawde had no chargesheet against him. Before invoking MCOCA in the case, the prosecution should have submitted the two orders passed by the court while taking cognisance of the two chargesheets against Dhawde," Sadhvi’s lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani aruged.
Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian argued Dhawde had committed more than one offence and sanction for invocation of MCOCA was given after the competent authority, a senior IPS officer, perused the papers.
"Once the competent authority has perused the papers and has found sufficient material against the accused, then the court can take cognisance of the chargesheet," Salian said.
The competent authority, while sanctioning the invocation of MCOCA, had stated that there is sufficient material against the accused of having conspired, aided and abetted each other to achieve objective of organised crime syndicate and committed unlawful activities.
Special MCOCA Judge Y D Shinde, who was expected to pass the order today, adjourned it till Thursday saying the court needs to peruse the chargesheet.