Updated on: Wednesday, December 08, 2021, 08:10 AM IST

FPJ Legal: Two more witnesses turn hostile in 2008 Malegaon blast case


On Tuesday, two witnesses connected with Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, were declared hostile by the prosecution after they resiled from their earlier statements and did not identify him in court, taking the number of witnesses declared hostile in the case to ten.

In the blast that took place on Sep 29, 2008 after a bomb strapped to a motorcyle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, Nashik district, six persons had lost their lives and over 100 persons had sustained injuries. The motorcycle was traced to now BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur, the main accused in the case.

One of the witnesses declared hostile on Tuesday was the manager of a hotel in Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh where Purohit had allegedly organized an ‘adventure camp’ in October 2008, after the blast. In this camp, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) alleges Purohit had given a speech where he spoke of the need for Hindu organizations and that for the community to come together under Abhinav Bharat, a right-wing group which is allegedly part of the blast conspiracy. He is also said to have spoken at the camp of terrorism on religious lines and the need to respond to it.

This witness had said in his earlier statement recorded in 2011, that the hotel arranged the camp for Purohit for 40-50 persons from Oct 16 to 21. Further, that Purohit had asked them to make arrangements for air rifles and they had said it could not be done. The witness had also identified some persons who he had seen with Purohit at the camp and one who had come there for lectures. He had said earlier that he could identify those who had come to the camp for training.

Another witness who turned hostile was the driver and owner of a Bolero car that was used in transporting people to the camp. The person had said in his 2012 statement that he had supplied three vehicles for transporting trainees of the camp to and fro from the railway station. His statement said that he was introduced to Purohit by a person and had provided transport services three times to him before providing service at the camp on his instructions. The witness had said that he could identify participants if shown and that he could also identify a person who he said was a close associate of Purohit.

In August, another witness who was a student and had attended the camp, had resiled from his earlier statement. Recently, the father of a blast victim had written a letter to the NIA raising concern on witnesses turning hostile. Advocate Shahid Nadeem appearing for the father, said these are the first NIA witnesses to turn hostile, the earlier eight were of the Anti-Terrorism Squad, which had probed the case before the NIA took over.

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Published on: Wednesday, December 08, 2021, 08:10 AM IST