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State to appeal against Ghatkopar blast acquittal within a month

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June 18, 2005 01:19 IST

The Maharashtra government will challenge the acquittal of eight persons in theĀ December 2002 Ghatkopar bomb blast case in which two people were killed and 49 injured.

Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian on Friday told reporters that they would be filing an appeal before the Bombay high court within a month.

Salian said the acquittal had been given on technical grounds. It was noted that the panchnamas were not recorded properly.

"I will have to read the judgement copy properly and prepare a recommendation for appeal. The recommendation will go to the Law and Judiciary Department of the state who will finally approach the Bombay high court," Salian said.

Giving benefit of doubt to the eight accused in the Ghatkopar bomb blast case, a special Prevention of Terrorism Act court had, on June 11, acquitted them of all charges while pulling up the Mumbai police for its inability to trace the missing accused Khwaja Younus.

This was the first of a series of bomb blast cases in 2002-2003 in which POTA was invoked and controversy also broke out with allegations of death of an accused Khwaja Younus due to police assault in custody although the police maintained that he had escaped while being taken to Ahmednagar for investigation.

A powerful bombĀ ripped a BEST bus in suburban Ghatkopar on December 2, 2002, killing two and injuring 49.

The prosecution had alleged that the accused had links with Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Tayiba and had engineered the blasts to avenge the killing of Muslims during the post-Godhra riots.

Those acquitted were Abdul Mateen, Shaikh Muzammil, Imran Rehman Khan, Mohammed Altaf, Toufiq Hamid, Aarif Hussain, Haroon Rashid and Rashid Ansari.

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