The Bombay High Court on Friday granted bail to four people accused in the 2006 Malegaon blast case, PTI reported. A division bench of Justices IA Mahanty and AM Badar gave bail to Manohar Nawaria, Rajendra Chaudhary, Dhan Singh and Lokesh Sharma.
“The petitions are allowed,” said the judges. “The applicants shall be released on cash bail of Rs 50,000. They shall attend the special court on each day during the trial and shall not tamper with evidence or contact witnesses.”
The four, who are in jail since their arrest in 2013, had approached the High Court in 2016 after a special court rejected their bail pleas that June.
The bail came three years after the National Investigation Agency discharged Lokesh Sharma and Dhan Singh in the case, reported The Indian Express.
The case had two sets of accused, and over the years investigations were carried out by three agencies – the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, the Central Bureau of Investigation, and the National Investigation Agency.
The case is with the National Investigation Agency at present. It took over the investigation in 2011, a year after Aseemanand, an accused in the Ajmer Sharif and Mecca Masjid blasts, told a magistrate that the explosions were the handiwork of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Sunil Joshi and his men.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad initially blamed the bombings on the Students Islamic Movement of India. At leat 37 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded in the attacks that took place on September 8, 2006, in a Muslim cemetery near Hamidia mosque. On 25 April 2016, a special court found the initial charges filed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad were fabricated and released the nine Muslim men who had been arrested.
Dhan Singh and the others have also challenged the discharge of the nine Muslim men, and a special court’s order rejecting their own applications for discharge. The High Court will hear those appeals at a later stage.