A forensic expert, who is a witness in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, on Tuesday told a special Mumbai court that traces of explosives were found on several articles including the LML Vespa scooter recovered from the explosion site, India Today reported.
The bike is allegedly registered in the name of Bharatiya Janata Party MP Pragya Singh Thakur, who is an accused person in the case.
Six persons were killed and 100 injured when an explosive device strapped to a two-wheeler went off near a mosque in north Maharashtra’s Malegaon on September 29, 2008. Hindutva outfit Abhinav Bharat is suspected of carrying out the attack.
Besides Thakur, six other persons are facing trial in the case – Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit, Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Sudhakar Chaturvedi. They have been charged under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Indian Penal Code, including murder.
The trial in the case had come to a halt in March 2020 after a lockdown was imposed across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. The trial resumed in December.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the forensic expert, who was an assistant chemical analyser at the time of the blast, told the court that traces of ammonium nitrate were found on the scooter.
“Ammonium nitrate is used as an explosive,” he told the court, according to The Times of India.
In his testimony, the expert, the 261st witness in the case, said that when he arrived at the spot of the incident, he saw the scooter was seriously damaged with its fuel tank, seat cover and boot blown off, according to The Indian Express.
The witness told the court that the engine number of the scooter was scratched off. He said that he could manage to arrive at three possible engine numbers of the bike after using a chemical procedure.
The prosecution claims that one of the engine numbers of the bike was subsequently traced to Thakur.
On Tuesday, the bike was brought to the court premises for examination, where it was identified by the forensic expert, The Indian Express reported.
The court will now hear the case on Wednesday.