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.