Malegaon blasts: Protected nation's security but labelled as terrorist: Purohit

Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that he was trying to protect nation's security and in return was tortured for a decade apart from being labelled as a terrorist. The prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case said he was only discharging his duty by attending the ‘conspiracy’ meetings of other accused in the case.

A Bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Makarand Karnik was dealing with a plea filed by Purohit through his counsel Neela Gokhale, seeking to drop all charges against him including the stringent anti-terror laws.

Appearing for Purohit, his counsel Gokhale told the judges that her client was gauging confidential information that could otherwise prejudice the nation's security. She further claimed that while doing all this, her client was constantly in touch with his superiors and was passing out all the information he obtained by attending various conspiracy meetings.

Gokhale said, "Purohit was discharging his duty to provide intelligence information to the Army and protect nation's security. He was commended for his job by then ATS chief Himanshu Roy and also the Army officers. In fact, my client was invited to give a lecture to the ATS officers on topics related to communal terrorism."

"But despite all this, he was shocked to see what he got in return. Purohit was tortured and assaulted for nearly a decade and later he was labelled as a terrorist," the counsel added.

In her submissions, Gokhale further argued that the NIA's move to prosecute her client is illegal since the central agency did not obtain a prior sanction.

"My client was discharging his official duty and thus as per the laws, the NIA should have had taken a prior sanction from the Union government to prosecute him. However, nothing of this sort has been done thus the prosecution is illegal," she argued.

The judges have posted the matter for further hearing till February 2 when the NIA and also victim Nisar Bilal would be advancing their submissions.

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