A special court on Wednesday said it will first hear the validity of sanctions under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and then frame charges against the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, reported ANI. Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit, an accused in the case, had questioned the validity of sanctions to prosecute the accused.

The arguments on validity of sanctions will begin on September 10.

Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, another accused in the case, was not present despite the court issuing a direction to all the accused in the case to be present while charges are framed. Thakur’s lawyer filed an exemption application and said they have made arrangements for video conferencing when the charges are announced.

In December, the special court discharged Thakur, Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit, Ramesh Upadhyay and Ajay Rahikar under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. They were also discharged under the Arms Act and Sections 17, 20 and 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The court had directed that they be tried under Section 18 (conspiracy) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other sections of the Indian Penal Code. Prior sanction is needed to prosecute Purohit as he was a serving Army officer at the time of the incident. The additional chief secretary of the Maharashtra Home Department had issued the sanction on January 17, 2009.

On September 29, 2008, at least six people died and several were injured in two blasts in Maharashtra’s Malegaon. Radical Hindu outfit Abhinav Bharat was suspected to have carried them out. The Anti-Terrorism Squad had filed a chargesheet against 14 right-wing extremists in the case.