The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Nizamoodin Jamadar on Monday heard the arguments in the pleas filed by accused in the 2008 Malegaon Bomb Blast case, seeking discharge from the case.
Advocate Shrikant Shivade, appearing for Lt. Col. S P Purohit argued on the short point of whether the special court was justified to reject his discharge plea and holding that it would consider the sanction to prosecute him at the end of the trial.
"The Supreme Court has recently pronounced a judgment wherein it has held that a sanction's legality will have to be decided at the stage of discharge or any other stage of trial. Thus, the special court's orders contradict the SC ruling as it has said it would decide sanction's legality at the time of final verdict," Shivade submitted.
Shivade further pointed out to the "fresh documents" issued by the Ministry of Defence, after the special court dismissed his discharge plea.
"Purohit was operating at source level providing inputs and was reporting to superior officers," Shivade read out from the ministry's documents.
"These documents show that my client did what he was trained to do," he added.
The counsel further argued that the SC has already held that no court should take cognizance of any offence allegedly committed by a public servant while discharging their official duty. "One or two more years would be wasted for trial and at the end of the day the special court would say sanction is needed. Thus, let the matter be remanded back to the special court. If the Defence Ministry grants the sanction, I will face trial and if it doesn't then I will be discharged," Shivade argued.
Shivade pointed out that both NIA and the ATS haven't obtained sanction. "This would set a bad precedent. In future, agencies would prosecute public servants without sanction. My client has been reinstated in work. He has an outstanding career," Shivade said, adding, "Infiltrating into enemy organisations isn't an easy task. What achievements I have done only my senior officer can say that."
Special public prosecutor Sandesh Patil for the NIA opposed the submissions saying that "much water has flown" and that Purohit cannot seek to set the clock back.
"Purohit has directly approached this court. He had the option to approach the special court and point out the new documents that he is relying on now. But he didn't do that," Patil argued, adding, "But now much water has flown. Charges have been framed trial has started. He cannot ask for setting the clock back."
The bench will continue to hear the arguments on July 30.