Conspiracies pestering the political leaders of the country display convoluted challenges to democratic governance, mandating an exhaustive examination of the legal frameworks, judicial precedents, and democratic discourse. In recent years, India has witnessed various prominent cases engaging the speculative conspiracies against the political leaders, accentuating the graveness of the issues. There is an ardent advocacy for the protection of free speech and expression, acknowledging them as an essential backbone of democracy. Scholiasts argue that strict legal measures against the conspiracies may violate these fundamental rights, smothering the conflict and impeding the sturdy public discourse. This article focuses on discerning the legal implications, landmark judicial decision, and wider democratic considerations encompassing such conspiracies. Moreover, this article also sheds light on the phenomenon of conspiracies as a tactical tool used by the political leaders to satisfy their personal interests and conduct the conspiracies to achieve mainly four prime objectives, namely, (i) to smirch the opponents, (ii) to muster the supporters, (iii) to disperse the blame and liability, and (iv) to sabotage the institutions that stand as a threat to their power.  This article particularly focuses on the authoritarian, populist, and conservative leaders, who are more inclined to spreading conspiracies during the periods of the societal tumult.

KEYWORDS – Conspiracy, Political Leaders, Democracy, Legal Framework, Indian Penal Code,1860, Sedition, Hate Speech, Judicial Precedents, Democratic Discourse, Landmark Cases, Freedom of Speech, Public Order, Populist Leaders, Authoritarianism, Democratic Values, Corruption, Electoral Malfeasance, Media, Civil Society, Enforcement Agencies


Conspiracies targeting the political leaders exhibit a substantial challenge to democratic sturdiness and governance worldwide. It is interesting that leaders, who often brandish vital resources, privileges, and power, disseminate conspiracies that typically surfaces the high-power groups as acting with malign intentions. It is more often that the promulgation of the conspiracies is not to challenge the power in wider terms but rather to pester the specific individuals or communities or groups whom they anticipate as a threat to their own authority.
The Landmark Cases like Kedar Nath Singh Vs. State of Bihar (1962)[1] stead fasted the criterion of sedition, avowing the criticism of the Governmental actions, however cogent and valid, does not amount to sedition unless it foments violence or public disorder. However, the line between licit criticism and seditious speech remains muzzy, electrifying the debates on free speech and political contrasts. Judicial Precedents play a vital role in carving out the legal interpretations. In Rangarajan Vs. P. Jagjivan Ram (1989)[2], the Supreme Court of India upheld the right of the citizens to criticize public officials or political leaders, stressing the gravity of sturdy public debates in a democracy. Reciprocally, in Shreya Singhal Vs. Union of India (2015)[3], the court repealed the Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which criminalized online speech deemed insolent or ominous. These judgments reflect a fragile balance between protecting the grandeur of the political leaders and upholding the rights of the citizens to be defiant. Even after possessing the legal safety, challenges prevail due to the dynamic nature of the society and the inverse social media amplification in sprawling misinformation and facilitating the dissemination of conspiracies, displaying the unprecedented challenges for governance. Occurrences, like the sprawling of bogus news and concocted images pestering the political leaders accentuate the need for subtle regulatory measures that balance the Freedom of Expression with the accountability to tame misinformation. Conspiracies tend to accumulate after events like a terrorist attack, blasts (Malegaon Blast Case[4]), global pandemics (Covid-19) outbreaks, or a pugnacious presidential election. The political sphere is a prolific ground for the conspiracies, especially entangled with the verbosity of populist leaders who clout the conspiracies for the purposes of strategies.
Furthermore, the politicization of the law enforcement agencies and selective prosecution aggravate apprehension concerning the abuse of legal provisions to reticence conflicts. The high-profile cases, such as the arrests of the activists under the charges of sedition for expressing conflicting views, highlighting the deterring effect on Freedom of Speech and Expression. Incidents like these uprear questions about the independence of the judiciary and the requirement for the judicial inattention to avert the executive thwart. In traversing these intricacies, the discourse in the democracy plays a pivotal role. The civil society, media, as well as the academia furnish as watchdogs, inspecting the Governmental actions and endorsing for clarity and liability. Public awareness campaigns and initiatives fostering media education can empower citizens to distinguish the facts from fiction, alleviating the influence of the misinformation and conspiracies.


In the ravelled drapery of the Indian politics, the prodigy of the political leader of a party targeting the political leader of a rival party has persisted throughout the history, marked by a quagmire of intra-party rivalries and inter-party rivalries as well. Recent years have seen a escalation in the exertion of various strategies by the political leaders to annihilate or smear their opponents. From character assassination to electoral malfeasance, and in extreme cases, even stooping down to physical harm, the political arena has witnessed a gamut of unethical operations. Historically, cases like the assassination of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, serve as a distressing mnemonic of the fanatical lengths to which the political rivals may go in chase of power. Moreover, the recent incidents of the defection and horse-trading assemblies accentuate the constancy of the conspiracies steered at subverting the Governments.
In 2008, the Pune police convoyed by the Delhi police arrested 16 individuals on accusations of being involved in a Maoist conspiracy to topple the Government and assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as foment an insurrection against the ruling BJP. The alleged conspiracy was connected to the Elgaar Parishad Event held in Pune in December,2017 which memorialized a historic Dalit victory, where skirmishes broke out the following day and the police transferred their focus from local provocateurs to a conjectural Maoist plot. The arrested individuals include Human Rights Activists, Lawyers, Writers, and Professors, with no previous records of violence. The NIA dismissed the claims of planted evidence. The case reflects a pattern of quelling under the Modi Government, with the use of anti-terror laws to silence opposition voices and erode democratic norms[5].
The 2G Scam is a integration of three cases, one instituted by the Enforcement Directorate and two cases instituted by the CBI in 2011. A report by the CAG of India disclosed that 2G licenses for mobile networks were sold at cheaper prices rather than carrying free and fair auctions. The prime accusations on A Raja were of assigning airwaves and licenses for cell phone networks in swap of bribes. DMK MP Kanimozhi, as per accusations put on him, played a major role in aiding the 217 Crore bribe from Swan Telecom to Kalaingar TV, the agitprop arm of DMK party. Post the judgment of this case was pronounce, the then PM Manmohan Singh stated that the judgment should be followed but Kanimozhi stated that she refused to target anyone but mended that there was conspiracy and that a lot of people were involved in this. In this case, politicians as well as private officials of the United Progressive Alliance and coalition Government of India were allegedly involved in selling or allotting 122 2G Spectrum Licenses[6].
The recent cases illustrate the depth of the political conspiracies in India. In July, 2019, the coalition Government of Karnataka, incorporating of the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Janata Dal, faced an intense crisis. The 2019 Karnataka political conspiracy stands out as an egregious example, where accusations of horse-trading and bribery emerged, especially the Bharatiya Janata Party, being charged of attempting to contriver the tergiversation to crumple the government, steering to the resignation of numerous legislators and consequent collapse of the State Government. The resignation of these legislators menaced the sturdiness of the coalition Government led by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. The crisis escalated into a political stalemate, with profound negotiations and legal battles emanating between the ruling coalition and the opposition. In July, 2019, the trust vote in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly resulted in the collapse of the Kumaraswamy-led Government, paving the way for the BJP to assume power[7].
In March, 2020, Madhya Pradesh tumbled into a political crisis following the resignation of 22 congress MLAs led by Jyotiraditya Scindia. The resignation intimidated the viability of the congress government led by the Chief Minister Kamal Nath, as the ruling party lost its majority in the state assembly. The crisis in Madhya Pradesh was deluged by the internal animosity within the congress party, intensified by alleged desolation of key leaders and dissatisfaction over distribution of power and resources. Jyotiraditya Scindia, a eminent leader, ratted to the BJP, citing discontent with the congress leadership. Imarti Devi, a former minister termed it as a conspiracy[8].
One of the most eminent recent cases of political leader targeting the rival is the 2020 political crisis in Rajasthan. The state witnessed a high-stakes power struggle between the then chief minister, Ashok Gehlot, and his former Deputy, Sachin Pilot. Pilot along with a group of rebel MLAs, was accused of conspiring to crumple the Gehlot-led Government. The crisis involved the allegations of horse-trading, with both the side accusing each other of assaying to lure legislators with offers of money and positions. The situation escalated when Pilot and his supporters were debarred from the party, stating the extremity of political rivalries within the congress party[9].
The Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on 21st March, 2024 evening, on accusations of corruption and money laundering in the articulation and implementation of the Delhi Government’s excise policy for 2021-2022, which was later revoked. The New Delhi Excise Policy, 2021-2022 was introduced in the November,2021 aiming at transmuting the liquor retail landscape in the capital. The objective of the New Delhi Excise Policy, 2021-2022 was to maximize revenues for the state, scuffle the sale of the counterfeit alcohol, and boost the experience of the consumers. However, the policy confronted flaming opposition and accusations of procedural irregularities, ultimately leading to annulment of New Delhi Excise Policy, 2021-2022 on the 1st of August, 2022[10]. In response to these scenarios, the AAP claimed that Amit Shah, the Home Minister of India, in an interview made it clear that Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the ED under a conspiracy. A party leader, Atishi, addressing a press conference alleged that the Home Minister Shah made it clear with a news channel that the ED had the intention to arrest Arvind Kejriwal from the very first time it sent summons to him[11].
The object dragging the politicians to conspire against their rivalries are as divergent as the political landscape itself. Personal aspirations often purvey as a dynamic stimulus, fuelling the implacable chasing of power and authority. The recent cases have unveiled how pushy politicians judiciously adapt conspiracies to arise the hierarchical ladder within their parties, often at the expense of ethical principles and democratic values. Moreover, the protection of ingrained interests serves as a driving force behind political conspiracies.
Apart from internal power struggle, political leaders in India also face menace from discontented citizens who anticipate them as corrupt, incompetent, or disconnected from the grassroots. Public anger and frustration can manifest in various forms, ranging from protests and demonstrations to online trolling and physical attacks. The rise of the social media has provided a platform for ordinary citizens to express their grievances and hold politicians accountable, sometimes stooping to conspiracies to explain perceived injustices.


Several Landmark Judgments by the Indian Courts have shaped the jurisprudence encircling the conspiracies against the political leaders. The decision of the Supreme Court of India in cases like the Kehar Singh Vs. State (1908) and State of Maharashtra Vs. Som Nath Thapa (1996) have traced the elements of the conspiracy and understood the graveness of such offenses as well as the evidentiary standards necessary for the purpose of prosecution.

  1. Kehar Singh Vs. State (1908)[12]

In the case of Kehar Singh Vs. State (1908), Kehar Singh was convicted for conspiring to murder the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. The Supreme Court of India upheld the conviction of Kehar Singh under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 for criminal conspiracy. The court stressed on the fact that the offense of criminal conspiracy needs the commission of the main offense for its completion. Even if the conspiracy isn’t committed, the mere agreement to commit the crime itself constitutes an offense. This judgment explicated the principle that conspiracy is an independent offense distinguished from the substantive offense pondered by the conspirators. It accentuated the graveness of the conspiracies against the political leaders and asserted the importance of holding the conspirators liable, irrespective of the success or failure in the commission of the crime.

  1. State of Maharashtra Vs. Som Nath Thapa (1996)[13]

The case of State of Maharashtra Vs. Som Nath Thapa (1996), Som Nath Thapa was accused of criminal conspiracy to murder a Member of Parliament, Mr. Mohan Delkar. The Supreme Court of India replicated the principles laid down in the Kehar Singh Vs. State (1908) and further refined the elements of conspiracy. The court stressed on the fact that for proving conspiracy, it is not necessary to establish a formal agreement; even a tacit understanding or a meeting of minds to chase a common unlawful objective would be sufficient. Moreover, the Supreme Court of India illuminated that the offense of conspiracy needs both an agreement as well as an intention to commit an unlawful act. It further stressed on the fact that mere presence at the scene of the crime or association with the main accused does not automatically imply participation in the conspiracy. Instead, the prosecution may establish a meeting of minds amongst the conspirators to achieve the unlawful objective. This judgment provided clarity on the evidentiary necessities for proving an evidentiary requirement for proving conspiracy and reinforced the principles that conspiracies against the political leaders are grave offenses deserving strict punishment.


Conspiracy against the political leaders has a adverse impact on the democratic process, posing a menace to the radical principles of transparency, liability, and informed decision making. In India, the chronicity of conspiracies erodes public trust in political institutions and nurture an atmosphere of fear, suspicion, and segmentation. When citizens anticipate political leaders as targets of conspiracies, they may become discontent with the democratic system, leading to disregard from civic participation. Moreover, the spread of conspiracies can aggravate social divisions and obstruct constructive dialogue, hampering the exchange of ideas and the utterance of comprehensive policies. The corrosion of trust in political leaders and institutions subvert the democratic fabric, exhausting the social contract between the Government and the governed.


In skirmishing the conspiracies against the political leaders, promoting a sturdy and inclusive public discourse is incumbent to uphold democratic values and strengthen civic engagement. Civil society organizations, media outlets, and political institutions play a crucial role in assisting transparency, liability, and fact-based dialogue. Civil society initiatives such as fast-checking organizations and advocacy groups can refute false narratives and counter propaganda, empowering citizens with veracious information to make informed decision. Similarly, responsible journalism plays a pivotal role in holding power accountable and scrutinizing the actions of political leaders. By adhering to ethical standards of reporting and providing truth and accountability. Moreover, political institution must uphold democratic norms and principles, ensuring that mechanisms for liability and transparency are sturdy and effective. By promoting open dialogues, respecting dissenting voices, and fostering a culture of mutual respect and understanding, India can strengthen its democratic institution and fortify the tenacity of its democratic discourse against the corrosive effects of conspiracies.


The Legal Frameworks governing the conspiracy against the political leaders in India primarily stem from statutory provisions outlined in the India Penal Code,1860 and the other related laws. These legal frameworks provide the basis for investigating, prosecuting, and punishing conspiracies against the political leaders in India. They aim to uphold the rule of law, protect democratic institutions, and ensure liability for those involved in undermining the democratic process through illegal means.

  1. Indian Penal Code, 1860[14]
    Section 120A – Definition of Criminal Conspiracy –
    This section defines the criminal conspiracy as when two or more persons agree to do or cause to be done an illegal act, or an illegal act, or an act which is not illegal by illegal means.
    Section 120B – Punishment for Criminal Conspiracy – This section prescribes punishment for conspiracy, which may include imprisonment and fines. It specifies that individual involved in a conspiracy shall be punished in the same manner as if they had committed the substantive offense themselves.
    Section 124A – Sedition – This section prescribes the punishment for sedition which shall include punishment with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years and fine.
  1. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA)[15]
    The UAPA aims to prevent the unlawful activities, including conspiracies against the political leader that threaten the sovereignty and integrity of India.
    Provisions within the UAPA empower the law enforcement agencies to take preventive actions against individuals or organizations engaged in conspiracies aimed at promoting secessionism, insurgency, or terrorism.
  2. Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973[16]
    Section 195(b)(iii) – Prosecution for contempt of lawful of public servants, for offences against public justice and for offences relating to documents given in evidence –
    This section deals with the prosecution for offenses related to giving false evidence or fabricating false evidences in judicial proceedings. This section, specifically, empowers the court to take cognizance of such offenses on a complaint made by a public servant concerned, or upon the direction of the court.
    Section 196 – Prosecution for offenses against the state and for criminal conspiracy to commit such offense – This section deals with the prosecution for offenses against the state or public servants. It mandates that no court shall take cognizance of any offenses punishable under Section 172 to 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, except on a complaint made by order of, or under authority from, the State Government or some officer empowered in this behalf by the State Government. This section ensures that offenses against the State or public servants are prosecuted with the requisite authorization from the State Government or competent authority, thereby safeguarding against frivolous or politically motivated prosecutions and ensuring due process in the legal proceedings.
  3. Prevention of Corruption Act,1988[17]
    Section 7 – Offenses relating to public servant being bribed –
    This section deals with the offenses of a public servant accepting bribes or gratifications for performing official duties.
    Section 8 – Offenses relating to bribing of a public servant – This section pertains to offering or giving bribes to public servants to influence their actions.
    Section 9 – Offenses relating to bribing a public servant by a commercial organisation – This section addresses the offenses of taking gratification for exercising personal influence with a public servant


Conspiracy against political leaders stands as a dismaying menace to the very structure of democracy, requiring an inclusive response extensive of legal, enforcement, and societal dimensions. In a nation like India, where democracy is not just a governance exemplar but a treasured value integral to the individualism of the nation, the prevalence of the conspiracies against political figures undermines the foundational principles of transparency, liability, and civil participation. It is imperative to recognize the multifaceted nature of this challenge and undertake concerted efforts to address it effectively. At its core, the fight against the conspiracy demands a sturdy legal framework that not only defines and punishes such acts but also ensures due process and safeguards against abuse of power. The existing legal provisions, as delineated in statues such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, lays down the foundation for prosecuting conspirators. However, continual review and adaption of these laws to evolving circumstances are essential to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape of political dynamics and technological advancements. Moreover, effective enforcement mechanisms are crucial to translating legal provisions into tangible action. Law enforcement agencies must be equipped with the necessary resources, training, and expertise to investigate and prosecute conspiracies against political leaders swiftly and impartially. Additionally, inter-agency coordination and cooperation are vital to combating the complex web of conspiracies that may span across jurisdiction and involve diverse actors.
The fight against the conspiracy against political leaders is not merely a legal or enforcement challenge but a collective responsibility that transcends institutional boundaries. It requires a concerted effort from all segments of society to safeguard the integrity of democratic institution and principles. By postering a cultural of accountability, transparency, and civic participation, India can effectively mitigate the threats posed by conspiracies, thereby fortifying its democratic edifice for generations to come.

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Written By – Sruti Sikha Maharana


[1] https://indiankanoon.org/doc/111867/

[2] https://main.sci.gov.in/judgment/judis/7986.pdf

[3] https://indiankanoon.org/doc/110813550/

[4] https://primelegal.in/2024/04/27/the-malegaon-blast-case-unravelling-legal-complexities-in-indias-fight-against-terrorism/

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/12/bhima-koregaon-case-india-conspiracy-modi

[6] https://thewire.in/business/2g-accused-acquitted-happened-scam-wasnt

[7] https://www.businesstoday.in/pti-feed/story/bjp-spoke-of-fighting-corruption-and-resorted-to-horse-trading-the-same-day-kumaraswamy-159458-2019-01-19

[8] https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/case-against-madhya-pradesh-congress-chief-jitu-patwari-for-remarks-against-bjp-leader-5581552

[9] https://indianexpress.com/article/india/2020-congress-crisis-gehlot-behind-phone-tap-of-pilot-rebels-claims-ex-aide-of-former-cm-9289290/

[10] https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/watch-what-was-the-new-delhi-excise-policy-all-about-and-why-is-arvind-kejriwal-in-trouble/article67983794.ece

[11] https://www.business-standard.com/politics/ed-intended-to-arrest-cm-kejriwal-from-day-1-says-aap-minister-atishi-124050300498_1.html

[12] https://lawfoyer.in/kehar-singh-and-others-v-state-delhi-administration-2/#:~:text=This%20case%20is%20also%20known,influenced%20Beant%20Singh%20for%20assassination.

[13] https://indiankanoon.org/doc/702724/

[14] https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/2263/1/aA1860-45.pdf

[15] https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1967-37.pdf

[16] https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/15272/1/the_code_of_criminal_procedure%2C_1973.pdf

[17] https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/15302/1/pc_act,_1988.pdf




 The Malegaon blast of 2008, stands as an agonizing exemplification to the intricate nature of terrorism investigations in India.  The Malegaon Blast Case, 2008 sent shivers down the spines of the people throughout India, highlighting the impending threat of terrorism in the socio-political landscape of the country. The repercussions of the blast led to a launch of comprehensive investigations aimed at identifying the perpetrators and bringing them to justice. However, the path to justice proved to be perforated with complexities, both legal and practical. To understand the legal framework surrounding the investigation of terrorism in India, it is crucial to dive into the legislative landscape. The legislation provides the law enforcement agencies with utmost powers. However, these powers must be exerted prudently to prevent the latent violation of the human rights as well as to ensure agglutination of due process of law. Despite, the sturdy legal framework, the investigators often face daunting adversities during investigations. The Malegaon Blast Case demonstrates these adversities. Moreover, the ubiquitous dominance of political and religious factors adds another layer of convolutions to terrorism investigations, often leading to allegations of prejudice or intrusion. Prosecuting those amenable for the acts of terrorism is another obstacle. The burden of proof in the cases of terrorism is eminently high, requiring the prosecution to not only substantiate the guilt of the accused but also their collusion in a larger terrorist network. Moreover, the prolonged legal proceedings and the baroque nature of evidence often result in persistent trials, testing the patience and resources of all involved parties. This article scrupulously examines the legal framework governing such investigations, colligating them with the austere realities faced by the investigators of such cases on the ground. By analysing the historical context, legal provisions, investigative challenges and prosecutorial obstacles, this study aims to shed light on the labyrinthine web surrounding the Malegaon Blast Case. Through an analysis of implications and potential reforms, it provides insights into effectively navigating similar cases in the future.

KEYWORDSMalegaon Blast, Terrorism, Bombing, Investigation, Prosecution, Chargesheet, Explosives, Forensic Evidence, Conspiracy, Arrests, Trial, Legal Proceedings, Witness Testimony, MCOCA, NIA, UAPA, Counterterrorism, Communal Tensions, Judicial Inquiry


 On the 29th of September, 2008, a blast took place near Bhikku Chowk in Malegaon, a town in the Nasik District of the Indian state of Maharashtra approximately 200 Km northeast of Mumbai. Pretty much, at the same instance, another blast occurred in Modasa, Gujarat. The explosion occurred on the eve of Navaratri. These onslaughts resulted in the lamentable loss of a 15-year-old boy with total of 10 injured in Modasa, Gujarat[1] and six lives in Malegaon with a total of 101 people enduring injuries[2]. Concretely, the modus operandi resembled a blast that took place in Delhi just three days prior.

The blasts were initiated by two low-intensity bombs strapped to a Hero Honda motorcycle, which eventually served as an imperative hint leading the police to the perpetrators. Primitively, scepticism swerved towards the Muslim extremists, inducing the deployment of the Mumbai Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) to assist the Malegaon police in the investigation. The investigation was backed by the ATS Chief Hemant Karkare, lamentably killed during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai by Lashkar-e-Tayyaba terrorists, the ATS later exposed evidence inculpating the Hindu extremists’ groups. On the date of 24th of October, 2008, three individuals namely Prime Suspect Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur (Member of Lok Sabha in BJP – Who as per the update of the Malegaon Blast Case on 26th April, 2024, on several occasion in the past, failed to appear before the court to record her final statement regarding the 2008 Malegaon Blast Case on the pretext of illness[3]), Shiv Narayan Gopal Singh Kalsanghra and Shyam Bhawarlal Sahu were arrested by the police concerning the blasts that took place in Malegaon. Posterior investigations unveiled that other Hindu extremist groups, including the Rastriya Jagran Manch, Sharda Sarvagya Peeth, Hindu Rashtra Sena and Abhinav Bharat were enmeshed, leading to the further arrests. The probe took a vital turn with the arrest of Lt. Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit, a serving Army officer, on November 4, 2008. However, the case soon became politicized, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena accusing the ATS of possessing political impetus behind the arrests, while also levying allegations against the Congress. The investigation of the ATS unveiled the potential connections between the accused and the other acts of terrorism, inclusive of the Modasa blast in Gujarat, the 2008 Malegaon Blast, the 2007 Mecca Masjid Blast in Hyderabad[4], and the Samjhauta Express Blast in 2007[5]. The prosecutors instituted charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA)[6], involving prior chargesheets against one or more of the accused. The special court in July, 2009, dismissed the MCOCA charges, citing the lack of cognizance in the other cases at the time of filing the chargesheet[7] for the 2008 Malegaon Blast. However, in 2010, the Bombay High Court re-established the MCOCA charges, citing that the cognizance appertains to the crime, not the accused and since the cognizance had been taken in the other cases, MCOCA could be applied. On the 15th of April,2015, the Supreme Court of India overturned the decision of the Bombay High Court, dismissing the MCOCA charges due to the insufficiency in evidence in the prior cases. The court instructed the High Court to establish a special court for swift and prompt legal proceedings. On the 25th of July, 2015, Rohini Salian, the Special Public Prosecutor in the case alleged that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had directed her to adopt a lenient stance towards the accused, flaming further controversies and raising questions about the impartiality of the investigations of the case.


The investigators tasked to unsnarl the convoluted layers of the Malegaon Blast Case withstood different adversities, including the pragmatic obstacles, operational restrictions, and the deficiencies in the resources throughout the investigative process. From gathering intelligence to collecting evidence and navigating the complexities of socio-political dynamics, the challenges often impeded the pursuit of justice in cases of terrorism. The primary suspects initially identified in the Malegaon Blast Case Noor-Ul-Huda, Shabeer Batterywala, and Raees Ahmad. Initially, the Maharashtra police suspected the involvement of groups such as Bajrang Dal, Lashkar-e-Toiba, or Jaish-e-Mohammed, but no evidence was emancipated incriminating any of these groups. However, suspicion later shifted towards Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami. In May, 2008, a hoard of RDX explosives and automatic rifles were discovered in the region, leading to the arrest of former members of the Students Islamic Movement of India. The explosives used in the September, 2007 Malegaon Blast case resembled those used in the 2006 Mumbai Train Blast case, which were ascribed to the Islamic groups. On the 12th of September, 2006, the Prime Minister of India stated that it would be inapt to definitively exonerate Hindu groups in the Malegaon Blast Case. The Prime Minister of India accentuated the need for a thorough investigation aimed at unveiling the truth without any prejudices and pre-conceived notions.

In an Op-Ed published on the 11th of September, B. Raman illuminated that it was immature to dismiss the possibility of the involvement either by the Hindu or Islamic extremists. B. Raman pointed out the attempts by certain Muslim community leaders to seed schism by questioning the fairness of the police officials as well as levelling accusations against the investigating officers. On the 30th of October, 2006, the arrests embroiled members of the Students Islamic Movement of India, suggesting progress in the case according to the statements of the police officials. On the 28th of November, 2006, the Mumbai Police disclosed that two Pakistani Nationals were involved in the explosions. Despite this, they continued their search for the eight additional suspects. The ATS had already incarcerated eight suspects, inclusive of two individuals related to the Mumbai Serial Blasts of 13th July 2011, connected with the Malegaon Blast Case, resulting in 17 fatalities and over 133 injuries[8].

 The ATS concluded the liaison of Hindu Nationalists groups based on the composure of the explosives used. The case was eventually taken over by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2013, leading to the arrest of individuals associated with the Hindu Right-Wing group Abhinav Bharat. The charges furnished on the initially arrested Muslim men were dismissed by the MCOCA in 2016.


The Malegaon Blast Case, furnishes numerous prosecutorial adversities, reflecting the complexities inherent in prosecuting the cases of terrorism and communal violence. These adversities span from gathering evidences against the perpetrators to presenting a cogent case before the courts, and they often involve navigating the legal, procedural as well as the socio-political hurdles. The key prosecutorial adversities faced in the Malegaon Blast Case are as follow:

  1. Assemblage and Conservation of the Evidences Prosecutors faced eloquent hurdles in the assemblage as well as the conservation of the evidences in the Malegaon Blast Case. It included the physical evidences such as the residue of the explosives, the forensic samples, and the debris from the site of the blast. Taking into consideration, the chaotic aftermath of the explosion and the passage of time, the conservation of the evidences became even more adverse. Moreover, the need to establish the chain of custody and ensure the admissibility of evidence in the court adds a cream-layer to the complexities.
  2. Testimony of the witnesses and ReliabilityFending the testimony of the witnesses is pivotal for instituting a strong case, but it is often formidable in the cases involving terrorism and communal violence. Witnesses might be reluctant to step forward due to the fear of retaliation, intimidation, or societal pressure. Moreover, ensuring the credibility of the witnesses amidst the consolidated communal sentiments posed a challenge for the prosecutors. The Malegaon Blast Case led to the examination of 300 witnesses, out of which 37 witnesses turned hostile so far[9]. Furthermore, the chances of the witness tampering with the information during testifying as well as coercion aggravated these issues, making it formidable to present a coherent narrative before the court.
  3. Complexity of Conspiracy chargesThe prosecutors had to navigate through the convolutions of conspiracy charges, particularly when dealing with multiple defendants and convolute plots. Unravelling the web of connections between the accused, their motivations, and the conspiracy for the purpose of the blast demands substantial investigative resources and legal expertise. It became even more adverse when an accused approached the special court seeking for an action against a former ATS officer alleging that the evidences brought in record by the officer during the trial was planted evidence in the home of a co-accused. The ATS claimed that there was a conspiracy to defame him and that the accusations on him were made as an “afterthought”[10].
  4. Admissibility of Forensic and Technical EvidenceFurnishing the forensic as well as the technical evidences in court are poses vital adversities, especially when dealing with complex analysis of explosives and digital forensics. Ensuring the credibility as well as the admissibility of such evidence require assent to rigid procedural standards and expert testimony. Defense attorneys might challenge the validity of such forensic evidences, leading to prolonged judicial process over the admissibility and the weightage of the technical evidences.
  5. Public and Political CompressionThe Malegaon Blast Case, like any other high-profile cases, is subjected to profound public and political scrutiny. Political interference as well as influence, media sensationalism, and communal stress further complicate the prosecutorial process, possibly sabotaging the integrity of the legal proceedings. It is evident from the fact that Bhavesh Patel, one of the suspects of the Malegaon Blast Case, wrote a letter to a CBI Court alleging that the Union Ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde, RPN Singh, Shri Prakash Jaiswal and Congress Leader Digvijaya Singh had harassed him and pressurized him to entrap RSS Leaders Mohan Bhagwat as well as Indresh Kumar as a conspirer in the Malegaon Blast Case[11].


The implications of the Malegaon Blast Case stretch far beyond the four walls of the courtroom, reverberating deeply within the socio-political landscape of India and affecting various stakeholders inclusive of the Government of India, Law Enforcement Agencies, Minority Community, Civil Society as well as the broader aspects of the Indian public. The implications in the Malegaon Blast Case are as follows:

  1. Counter-Terrorism Policies and Strategies – The Malegaon Blast Case accentuates the need for vigorous and effective Counter-Terrorism policies and strategies in India. It stresses on the adversities posed by the autochthonous terrorism and the exigent for motivated measures to prevent fanaticism, battle extremist ideologies, and reinforce the intelligence-sharing gimmick. The case of Malegaon blast coaxes a review of existing counter-terrorism framework and the development of targeted initiatives to address springing threats.
  2. Law Enforcement Practices and Procedures– The case of the Malegaon Blast throws light on the strength and the weaknesses of the law enforcement practices and procedures in India, especially on the pretext of the investigation of terrorism. It accentuates the significance of professionalization, training, and capacity -building within the investigating agencies to improvise their capabilities in handling the complexities of the cases. Furthermore, it stresses on the need for the assent to legal as well as procedural safeguards to ensure the integrity of investigations and prosecutions.
  3. Social Cohesion and Community Relations – The Malegaon Blast Case has consequential ramifications for social cohesion and community relations in India, especially between the religious and ethnic groups. It emphasizes on the menace of the communal dichotomization and the potential for violence ignited by the religious extremism and the sectarian tensions.
  4. Protection of Minority Rights and Civil Liberties – The case of Malegaon Blast raises a distress regarding the protection of the rights of the minorities in the country as well as the civil liberties, especially on the pretext of counter-terrorism measures. It accentuates the significance of upholding the principles of the Constitution of India such as the right to equality, freedom of religion, and due process. Shielding these rights is a necessity to prevent discrimination, arbitrary detention, and violations of privacy stating national security as a concern.
  5. Rule of Law and Judicial Independence – The case of Malegaon Blast is a litmus test for the rule of law as well as the judicial independence in India. It accentuates the significance of impartial and transparent judicial proceedings, free from political interference or undue influence.
  6. Media and Public Discourse– The Malegaon Blast case has significant ramifications for media coverage and public discourse concerning terrorism and communal violence in India. It stresses the responsibilities of the media to report exactly and responsibly all the facts of such sensitive issues, avoiding sensationalism or insurgent verbosity that may magnify tensions. The court ,thus, rejected the plea of NIA for a gag on media stating the gravity of the offence as well as the national security and ensured the media that it can continue to report on the trial, providing information and maintaining the accountability in the legal process[12].


The Malegaon Blast Case dissects the legal framework governing the act of terrorism investigations in India and scrutinizes the relevant statutes including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA), the National Investigation Agency, 2008 (NIA), the Indian Penal Code,1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, Explosive Substances Act, 1908, the Indian Arms Act, 1959, the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), 1999,  
and the Constitution of India.

  1. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967[13]
  • Section 15 to 38 of the UAPA,1967 prescribes the offenses, investigations and the penalties under the Act.
  • Section 43D of the UAPA,1967 prescribes the conditions for grant of bail for the offenses under this Act.
  1. Indian Penal Code, 1860[14]
  • Section 120B of IPC,1860 prescribes the definition of Criminal Conspiracy
  • Section 302 to 307 of IPC,1860 prescribes the offenses relating to murder and attempt to murder
  • Section 324 of IPC,1860 prescribes the punishment for Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means
  • Section 326 of IPC, 1860 prescribes the punishment for Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means
  • Section 153A of IPC,1860 prescribes the punishment for Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, languages etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony
  • Section 295A of IPC, 1860 prescribes the punishment for Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.
  1. National Investigation Agency Act, 2008[15]

The NIA Act provides for the establishment of the NIA and empowers it to investigate and prosecute the offenses affecting the sovereignty, integrity, and security of India, including terrorism.

  1. Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973[16]
  • Section 173 of CRPC, 1973 prescribes the procedure for investigation by police officer in charge of a police station
  • Section 167 of CRPC, 1973 prescribes the procedure when investigation cannot be completed in twenty-four hours.
  • Section 207 of CRPC, 1973 prescribes the supply to the accused a copy of police report and other documents
  • Section 309 of CRPC, 1973 prescribes the power to postpone or adjourn proceeding
  • Section 311 of CRPC, 1973 prescribes the power to summon material witness, or examine person present
  • Section 313 of CRPC, 1973 prescribes the power to examine the accused
  1. Indian Evidence Act, 1872[17]
  • Section 24 to 35 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 prescribes the provisions related to the relevancy of facts and admissibility of evidence
  • Section 45 to 51 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 prescribes the provisions regarding the opinion of experts
  • Section 118 to 134 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 prescribes the provisions regarding witnesses
  1. The Constitution of India[18]
  • Article 21 of the Constitution of India deals with the Protection of life and personal liberty
  • Article 22 of the Constitution of India deals with the Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases
  • Article 39A of the Constitution of India deals with Equal justice and free legal aid
  • Article 14 of the Constitution of India deals with the Right to equality before law
  • Article 15 of the Constitution of India deals with the Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
  1. The Explosive Substances Act, 1908[19]
  • Section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 prescribes the Punishment for causing explosion likely to endanger life or property
  • Section 4 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 prescribes the punishment for Attempt to cause explosion or for making or keeping explosive with intent to endanger life or property
  • Section 5 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 prescribes the punishment for Making or possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances
  • Section 6 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 prescribes the punishment of abettors
  1. The Arms Act, 1959[20]
  • Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959 prescribes the Punishment for certain offenses relating to arms and ammunition
  • Section 27 of the Arms Act, 1959 prescribes the Punishment for using arms and ammunition in contravention of Section 5 or Section 7
  • Section 28 of the Arms Act, 1959 prescribes the Punishment for unlawfully acquiring, possessing, or carrying prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition
  1. The Maharashtra Control of Organized Crimes Act (MCOCA), 1999[21]
  • Section 3 of the MCOCA prescribes the Offense of organized crime
  • Section 4 of the MCOCA prescribes the Punishment for organized crime


In conclusion, this article fuses all the key findings and arguments presented throughout the study. It reflects on the lessons learned from the Malegaon Blast Case and the broader ramifications for investigations concerning terrorism in India. Furthermore, it accentuates the exigent for reforming legal frameworks, enhancing investigative capabilities, and asserting the principles of justice and liability in the brawls against terrorism. Eventually, it advocates for a panoramic approach that balances security exigent with respect to human rights and the rule of law. The Malegaon Blast Case marks an important milestone in India’s quest for justice, liability, and communal harmony. It brought a broader ramification for India’s counter-terrorism efforts and underscores the significance of sturdy investigative mechanism, intel-sharing partnership, as well as the legal frameworks to confront terrorism effectively. It highlights the need for continuous improvisation in investigative techniques, forensic capabilities, and legal procedures to ensure smooth and speedy adjudication of terrorism cases. Furthermore, it serves as a prompt of the menace of the religious extremism and sectarian violence and accents the significance of nurturing ecumenical dialogue, tolerance, and understanding.

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Written by – Sruti Sikha Maharana


[1] https://nia.gov.in/case-detail.htm?16

[2] https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/2008-malegaon-blast-15-years-on-prosecution-closes-evidence-against-7-accused-101694719119028.html

[3] https://www.freepressjournal.in/india/malegaon-bomb-blast-case-after-repeated-warnings-pragya-singh-thakur-finally-appears-before-court

[4] https://indianexpress.com/article/what-is/mecca-masjid-blast-2007-hyderabad-nia-aseemanand-5139063/

[5] https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/2007-samjhauta-express-blast-case-68-dead-all-accused-acquitted/articleshow/68506483.cms?from=mdr


[7] https://nia.gov.in/writereaddata/Portal/CasesPdfDoc/RC-05-2011-NIA-DLI-1.pdf

[8] https://pib.gov.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=73229

[9] https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/another-key-witness-turns-hostile-in-malegaon-blast-case-trial-4023784

[10] https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/malegaon-blast-case-accused-claims-ats-officer-planted-evidence-home-co-accused-8659356/

[11] https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/ajmer-blast-to-malegaon-bombings-new-row-as-terror-suspects-allege-political-pressure-535777

[12] https://indianexpress.com/article/india/malegaon-trial-court-rejects-nia-plea-for-gag-on-media-6046468/

[13] https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1967-37.pdf

[14] https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/2263/1/aA1860-45.pdf

[15] https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/2022-08/The%2520National%2520Investigation%2520Agency%2520Act%2C%25202008_1%5B1%5D.pdf

[16] https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/15272/1/the_code_of_criminal_procedure%2C_1973.pdf

[17] https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/15351/1/iea_1872.pdf

[18] https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/15240/1/constitution_of_india.pdf

[19] https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/2342/1/AAA1908___06.pdf

[20] https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/1398/1/A1959_54.pdf

[21] https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/16362/1/the_maharashtra_control_of_organised_crime_act,_1999.pdf