Mumbai: In a major setback to the Mumbai police, a court here dropped the charges under stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act against the 23 persons arrested for having links with terrorist group Indian Mujahideen reported PTI.
The Mumbai crime branch had arrested a set of 23 people in August 2008 and alleged that they were behind the terror emails that warned bomb blasts and later claimed the responsibility of the bombings. The accused, said the police, had hacked into the unsecured wi-fi network of a private firm Chembur, Khalsa college’s wi-fi and the wi-fi network of an American national, Ken Heywood (who stayed in Navi Mumbai).
Furious at the latest development, crime branch officials have declared it will appeal against the order of special court before the Bombay High Court.
It should be noted that the court has already granted bail to seven accused in the case due to insufficient evidence to support prosecution case against them. Mumbai crime branch had investigated the case in the aftermath of the August 23, 2008 Ahmedabad blast. The prosecution charge sheet claimed the accused had sent out email – especially to the media – claiming responsibility of the blasts.
A similar order had been passed earlier in the 2012 Pune serial blasts case. The crime branch of the police had arrested these men in connection with email sent to media houses and government offices minutes before blasts in Surat, Delhi and Hyderabad, allegedly carried out by the IM.
The Mumbai police’s spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni said the police will challenge the order. As the special MCOCA judge A L Pansare dropped the charges under the Act, the case is likely to be assigned to a regular court now.
In February this year, the court had dropped MCOCA charges from the Pune blasts case, observing that sections of MCOCA and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act cannot be applied together.
A series of 21 blasts had rocked Ahmedabad on July 26, 2008 in a span of 70 minutes, killing 56 and wounding over 200. Twenty-six unexploded bombs were found at different locations in Surat between July 28 and 30.
Two cars filled with material required for making explosives and detonators were found parked on the roadside near a hospital and other on the outskirts of Surat.
It was claimed that IM, had sent e-mails to TV channels claiming responsibility for the blasts.