Goa Bench of Bombay High Court confirms the innocence of the accused in Margao blast case

(From left) Dhananjay Ashtekar, Dilip Mangaonkar, Vinay Talekar, Vinayak Patil, Prashant Ashtekar and Prashant Juvekar

Margao (Goa) – The Goa Bench of Bombay High Court has upheld the innocence of six accused in the blast case in Margao which took place on the eve of 2009 Diwali.

In this case, M/s Vinay Talekar, Dilip Mangaonkar, Vinayak Patil, Prashant Juvekar, Dhananjay Ashtekar and Prashant Ashtekar were acquitted by a Special Court in Goa on 31st December 2013. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had filed an appeal in the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court against the Special Court’s decision. The arguments of both the parties were completed on 16th September and the decision was reserved. On 19th September, the High Court upheld the Special Court’s decision and dismissed NIA’s appeal. Additional Government Adv. Praveen Phaladesai appeared for NIA, while Adv. Sanjeev Punalekar and Adv. Nagesh Joshi appeared for the accused.

Highlights of the judgement

1. Sanatan Sanstha had opposed the Narakasur competition in 2001 and 2009. However, these aspects do not prove in any way that the accused committed the crime.

2. The NIA has not provided any independent evidence that the accused conspired to carry out the blast. It could not be brought before the Court.

3. No explosives were seized from the accused and NIA’s allegation that they only threw the explosives into the river is invalid under the Indian Evidence Act.

4. The circumstantial evidence presented by the NIA is very weak and incomplete.

5. Even if some of the NIA’s aspects have been accepted, the High Court does not feel the need to make any changes in the Special Court’s order acquitting the accused.