The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit in the 2008 Malegaon serial blast case. The apex court said it has imposed certain conditions on Purohit while granting bail.
Purohit had moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court's order dismissing his bail plea. Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nasik district of north Maharashtra.
A special MCOCA court had earlier ruled that the ATS had wrongly applied this law against Sadhvi Pragya
Thakur, Purohit and nine others.
The 4,000-page charge sheet had alleged that Malegaon was selected as the blast target because of a sizeable Muslim population there. It had named Thakur, Purohit and co-accused, Swami Dayanand Pandey as the key conspirators. However, Thakur was last year given clean chit by the NIA.
Purohit caught in 'political crossfire'
On August 17, Purohit had told the apex court that he has been caught in the "political crossfire" and languishing in jail for nine years.
Malegaon blasts accused Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit claimed he was an Army informer who infiltrated Abhinav Bharat, an organisation whose members were accused of conspiracy in the 2008 blast case and got caught in the "political crossfire".
Arguing his application for bail, Purohit said he has been in jail for almost nine years without charges framed against him.
"He still 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," senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Purohit, said.
The 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," Salve submitted.
He said that charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime
Act (MCOCA) were dropped against Purohit by the apex court in 2015.
"After nine years a man is entitled to see the sun outside jail," Salve said.
Who is Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit
Shrikant Purohit belonged to a middle class family from Maharashtra. His father worked as a bank officer. He completed his education from Abhinav Viyalaya and Garwara College from his birth town in Pune. Purohit was commissioned into Maratha Light Infantry in 1994 after he cleared out of the Officer’s Training Academy at Chennai. Between 2002-2005, he served in the counter-terrorism operations unit in Jammu and Kashmir. Later he was shifted to Military Intelligence due to health reasons.
Refresher on Malegaon case
September 29, 2008: Blast opposite Shakil Goods Transport Company, caused by LML Freedom motorcycle with explosives concealed inside left four dead and 79 injured.
Accused: 14 chargesheeted by Maharashtra ATS on January 20, 2009 and April 21, 2011, before special MCOCA court in Mumbai. These include —
Judicial custody: Pragya Singh Thakur, Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Lt Col Prasad Purohit, Sameer Kulkarni, Rakesh Dhawade, Sudhakar Dwivedi a.ka. Dayanand Pandey, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Pravin Takalki
Bail: Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyam Sahu, Ajay alias Raja Rahirkar, Jagdish Mhatre
Absconding: Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange