2008 Malegaon blasts: Supreme Court grants bail to Colonel Purohit
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday approved the bail plea of Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.
A verdict was given by the division bench of Justices RK Agrawal and AM Sapre who had reserved their orders on Purohit's plea seeking interim bail on August 17.
Purohit had challenged the April 25 Bombay High Court order which granted bail to another accused, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, but rejected his bail plea.
It is to be mentioned that a 4,000-page chargesheet filed by Anti-terrorist Squad (ATS) had alleged Purohit and co-accused, Swami Dayanand Pandey as the key conspirators in the 2008 Malegaon blast. Purohit has been serving in jail since past nine years.
After the verdict of the apex court, colonel's wife said, "It has been tough on our family. Only we know how we survived these 9 years. We have attended every Court case."
On August 17, Colonel Purohit had stated in the apex court that he had been caught in 'political crossfire' and was serving in jail for nine years without even charges being framed against him.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for Purohit said, "Purohit has been in jail for nine years but still he is serving in the Indian Army. Since 2001, he has got numerous recommendations for infiltration. From an unsung hero, he has been now called an incarcerated hero."
Purohit, however, had earlier, accepted in the SC that he had attended meetings of Abhinav Bharat, a right wing organisation whose members were accused of conspiring in the Malegaon blast, but he had acted as an Army officer and passed on the information to his senior officers about group's activities.
"ATS in its chargesheet says that I attended meetings of Abhinav Bharat. Yes, I attended certain meetings, but as a military mole. I have been doing my duty. "The court says that it will look into ATS chargesheet at the stage of trial and refuses interim bail even as charges are not framed against me. What kind of criminal justice system is this," stated Salve in favour of Purohit.
The army man's bail plea had argued, "Allegation against me is that I supplied RDX explosive material on the conspiracy hatched by Sadhvi Pragya Thakur. Now, if she is enlarged on bail and given a clean chit by NIA, then the link between me and her is snapped. I am at least entitled for interim bail after undergoing nine years of jail in the case."
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No interim relief was granted by the trial court which has said it would look into the charge sheet at the trial stage, Purohit stated.
Salve had argued that Purohit had been falsely implicated by Maharashtra Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) and no report had been filed after eight years of Army's Court of Inquiry.
He stated, "I am not asking for discharge in the case, but all I am saying is that after nine years of incarceration, even after MCOCA has been dropped, give me interim bail. After nine years a man is entitled to see the sun outside jail," Salve had said.
It is worth mentioning that charges the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) had dropped all charges against Purohit in 2015, after no evidence was found against him.
Seven persons were killed in the explosion in Malegaon in Nashik district in Maharashtra on September 29, 2008.
The investigating agencies had earlier attributed the blast to right-wing group Abhinav Bharat.