By Bhavna Uchil

Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday declared as hostile a witness in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. The witness had earlier made revelations in his statement regarding numerous meetings he attended of the right wing outfit Abhinav Bharat, where Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit and his co-accused, BJP MP Pragya Thakur, gave Hindutvavadi lectures alongside Swami Aseemanand.

Aseemanand was accused in three terror attacks

Aseemanand was accused in three terror attacks – Ajmer Dargah bombing, Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid blast and Samjhauta Express Bombings. He has been acquitted in all three.

The witness was declared hostile as he denied that his statements were recorded by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which probed the case before the NIA took over. On Thursday, he said before the court, on a suggestion by defence lawyers, that he had been illegally detained and subjected to mental torture by the ATS.

He also denied that his statement was recorded before a magistrate under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Statements recorded thus are considered to be given voluntarily as the magistrate makes sure that the witness is not under pressure of anyone…

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