Mumbai, Nov 16: Seven accused in the Malegaon blasts were today released on bail, five years after their arrest in the case, the probe into which took a new turn after names of right-wing groups figured in other blasts.
Salman Farsi, Shabir Ahmed, Noorulhuda Doha, Rais Ahmed, Mohammed Zahid and Faroogue Ansari were released from Arthur Road Jail by a trial court.
Another accused Abrar Ahmed was set free from Byculla prison, police said. Two others - Asif Khan and Mohammed Ali - were also granted bail in the case but they were not released as they are also accused in the 2006 Mumbai train bombings.
On November 5, all nine accused were granted bail on a surety of Rs 50,000 each by Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) Court as National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing the case, chose not to oppose their plea for liberty.
NIA had contended that after the confession of Swami Aseemanand (arrested for 2007 Mecca Masjid bomb blast) about the alleged involvement of a right-wing group in the Malegaon blast, it reviewed the evidence collected by previous investigating agencies, Maharashtra ATS and CBI, besides gathering some fresh evidence.
“After due deliberations, a decision was taken on the basis of facts and circumstances not to oppose the bail plea of all the nine accused,” the NIA had told the court.
On September 8, 2006, powerful multiple blasts near Hamidia mosque in Bada Kabaristan area in Malegaon after Shab-e-Barat prayers killed 37 people and injured over 100.
A large number of supporters and relatives of the accused converged outside Arthur Road Jail in central Mumbai.
They waved at the accused as they stepped out at 5.45 pm. Many of them had come all the way from Malegaon, about 200 km from here in north Maharashtra, to meet them.