Clean chit to Lt Col Purohit in Samjhauta Express blast

NEW DELHI : The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has given a clean chit to Lt Col Prasad Srikant Purohit of the military intelligence (MI) in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast that killed over 65 people as it could find no evidence to make him an accused in the case.

Purohit is in jail since 2008 as part of the alleged right-wing saffron terrorism unleashed to implicate the Muslims.

NIA chief Sharad Kumar, who back from the US after securing more information on the alleged role of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) financier Arif Qasmani in the Samjhauta blast, said the agency did not name Purohit in the Samjhauta charge sheet since it could not get any evidence to link him either with the blast or the conspiracy.

He said the NIA wanted to interrogate him on certain aspects of the case, but he challenged it and won a reprieve from the court. The NIA chief said Purohit was, however, in jail since his agency is still probing his role in the 2008 Malegaon blasts. Purohit has been charge-sheeted by the Maharashtra’s Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) in the Malegaon blasts. The case was subsequently transferred to the NIA, which is still to file a charge-sheet in the case. Maharashtra ATS had told a Nashik court that Purohit had procured 60 kg of RDX from Jammu and Kashmir in 2006.

A clear picture on Purohit’s fate will be known once the NIA files the charge-sheet in the Malegaon case. The NIA chief said the agency is in the final stage of preparing the charge-sheet to be filed in the next four to six weeks.

He refused to answer whether Purohit will be set free or charged under the Maharashtra Control of Organisation Crime Act (MCOCA), saying it will be too premature for him to respond as it is for the IO (Investigating Officer) and his superiors to go through the evidence and then take a call.

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