Army officer, the witness in 2008 Malegaon blast trial, declared hostile

Six persons were killed and 90 injured when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, a north Maharashtra town, on September 29, 2008.

Bhavna UchilUpdated: Thursday, August 25, 2022, 09:24 PM IST
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An explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, a north Maharashtra town, on September 29, 2008. |

A serving army colonel-a witness in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, was on Thursday declared hostile after he denied his statement was recorded by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in 2008.

In his statement to the ATS, which was probing the case before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over, he had mentioned instances of Col. Purohit’s links with Abhinav Bharat, a right-wing organisation that was part of the blast conspiracy.

On September 29, 2008, an explosive went off from a motorcycle at Malegaon town in Nashik district and killed six people and injured over a hundred. Among the accused are also BJP MP Pragya Thakur.

The army man had been transferred to military intelligence and met Col. Prasad Purohit in June 2006, after which they became family friends. As per his statement of December 2008, he had said that from Purohit’s talks he understood he had contacts with political people. He said he had visited Purohit’s home and seen some documents on his table in which there were names and signatures of people, including that of Purohit.

When asked, he said Purohit said it was the board of ‘Abhinav Bharat’, which Purohit told him was a "trust". The army man said he had asked Purohit if he could be involved in such activities while being in the military, to which he had said that it was a "charitable trust". The army man has also said in his statement that Purohit owned three weapons.

As per his statement, the witness had said that one day in October 2008, Purohit had called him to his home at 6 pm, but he reached at 8 pm. He said Purohit asked him to drop him and another guest off at a camp. He said he had expected the camp to be military, but saw that it was of Abhinav Bharat and that there were around 25 older people and 35 to 40 youths there. He said youths he had seen at Purohit’s home were also at the camp. The statement also states that Purohit had given a lecture at the camp and then they had proceeded home.

On Thursday, he denied these specifics of his statement and told the court that the ATS had made an inquiry with him for a few minutes, but that no statement was recorded.

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