Judge changed in Nanded blast case on the day of Yashwant Shinde’s second hearing

05 November 2022
Yashwant Shinde in front of the Nanded district court, on 22 September 2022.
Yashwant Shinde in front of the Nanded district court, on 22 September 2022.

On 4 November, a district court judge, who had been adjudicating trial proceedings in the 2006 Nanded blast case since May, informed the parties involved that the case had been transferred to another judge, with the next hearing postponed to 13 December. The parties to the case are Manoj Chaladan, the public prosecutor of the Central Bureau of Investigation; Yashwant Shinde, a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh pracharak seeking his own impleadment as a witness in the case; and five men accused in the blast, represented by their lawyer Ramesh Govind Paradkar. All three parties had gathered in the court on 4 November expecting an argument over Shinde’s application, which was filed alongside a sworn affidavit claiming that he was trained in bomb-making alongside the accused.

I previously reported for The Caravan on the contents of Shinde’s application and his claims of being a witness to a conspiracy by Hindu fundamentalist groups that led to several bomb blasts across the country during the mid-2000s. Shinde claims that Milind Parande, who is currently the secretary general of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, was the mastermind of the blasts and that the bomb-making training he attended had been organised by Parande. He has asked for Parande to be added as an accused in the Nanded blast case.

In the previous hearing, on 22 September, the CBI and the lawyer of the accused, in a written submission, had opposed Shinde’s application to be added as a witness on the grounds that he was absent from the case for 16 years and that he was neither a complainant nor an accused in it. In his last order in the case, AR Dhamecha, the extra joint district judge before whom the hearings happened so far, said he would allow Shinde to argue the CBI’s dismissal of his testimony and their opposition to add Milind Parande as an accused in the case.

Shinde had also filed applications with the court to allow him access to the chargesheet and supplementary chargesheet filed by the Maharashtra Police’s Anti Terrorism Squad in 2006, a supplementary report filed by the CBI in 2008, a supplementary chargesheet filed by the CBI in 2009, a copy of the First Information Report and closure report filed by CBI in 2020, statements of witnesses, spot panchnamas and a copy of the narco-analysis test results of Rahul Pande and Sanjay Chaudhari, two accused in the case. Shinde’s lawyer, Sangmeshwar Delmade, told me they had not yet been given access to any of these documents and were hoping to argue for access to them on the hearing that was scheduled yesterday. “We can’t argue against CBI’s written submission until we know what has been investigated so far,” Delmade said.

The Nanded blast case involves an explosion at the house of Laxman Gundayya Rajkondwar on 5 April 2006. The blast killed his son, Naresh Rajkondwar, and his son’s friend, Himanshu Panse. The police soon discovered that it was an accidental explosion and that Rajkondawar’s home was being used to make bombs. Early in its investigation, the Maharashtra ATS accused seven men in the case and added four more later. The investigation also revealed that the men were earlier involved in bomb blasts at mosques in Jalna, Purna and Parbhani in 2003 and 2004.

Sagar is a staff writer at The Caravan.

Keywords: Yashwant Shinde Hindu terrorism VHP CBI RSS Nanded Blast