HC gives bail to convict in 2008 Thane blasts

Hindu right wing group Sanatan Sanstha member Ramesh Gadkari has granted bail by the Bombay High Court convicted for his involvement in the blasts at theatres and auditoriums in neighbouring Thane district in 2008.

A division bench of Justices P V Hardas and Mridula Bhatkar, while granting bail to Gadkari on a surety of Rs 20,000, observed that the appeal against his conviction is not likely to be heard soon.

In August 2011, the trial court had convicted Gadkari and co-accused Vikram Bhave under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Explosives Act. The stringent provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was dropped by the court.

Gadkari was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment.

His advocate Sanjiv Punalekar today argued that Gadkari had spend nearly five years in jail since his arrest in 2008.

In 2008, blasts ripped through Vishnudas Bhave auditorium in Vashi on May 31 and in a parking lot in Thane’s Gadkari Rangayatan on June 4. Before that, on February 20, a bomb was recovered at Cineraj Theatre in Panvel which was screening ‘Jodhaa Akbar’.

In June 2008, the ATS arrested six persons, alleged to be members of Sanatan Sanstha. While Gadkari and Bhave were convicted, the remaining four were acquitted by the trial court.

Gadkari was arrested from Sanstha’s Ashram in Devat near Panvel.