Mumbai: Bombay High Court rejects Purohit’s discharge plea

Court rejects Purohit’s discharge plea; Asks why he could not avert Malegaon blast if he was performing his duty

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, January 03, 2023, 01:29 AM IST
article-image

/ Mumbai

Dismissing a discharge plea filed by Lt Col Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast, the Bombay High Court observed on Monday that “indulging into an activity of a bomb explosion causing the death of six persons is not an act done by the appellant in his official duty”.

BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur and five others are also accused in the case.

A division bench of Justices Ajey Gadkari and PD Naik also rejected Col Purohit’s claim that sanction was required under the Criminal Procedure Code to prosecute him as he was a serving Indian Army officer.

The bench questioned his contention that he was merely performing his duty and gathering information about the organisation Abhinav Bharat.

“… (if the contention is) accepted then the question remains to be answered why he did not avert the bomb blast in the civilian locality of Malegaon which caused loss of life of six innocent persons and severe to grievous injuries to about 100 persons,” said the bench.

Col Purohit had filed an appeal in the High Court challenging the order of the special NIA (National Investigation Agency) court rejecting his discharge plea in November 2017.

His advocate Neela Gokhale said their main contention was lack of sanction under Section 197(2) of the CrPC from the Army to prosecute since he was merely discharging his official duty.

However, NIA counsel Sandesh Patil contended that no sanction was required as his acts were not in discharge of his duty.

Col Purohit was arrested in 2008 and charged under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). He was granted bail by the Supreme Court in 2017.

The justices noted that after “minutely perusing the entire record” they were of the opinion that the charges against the officer under the IPC and the UAPA of murdering six persons and causing grievous injuries to 100 others had “nothing to with his official duty”. Hence, there was no question of seeking sanction to prosecute him.

According to the NIA, the LML Freedom motorcycle that was used in the blast during Ramzan was registered in Ms Thakur’s name.

The agency has said Col Purohit floated the Abhinav Bharat organisation in 2007 despite being a serving Army officer to turn India into a Hindu rashtra. It further said a discussion about a bomb blast had taken place in one of the Abhinav Bharat meetings and the colonel was responsible for procuring RDX from Kashmir.

(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )

(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here.  To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Mumbai: Work at Bhandup complex complete, water supply resumes; BMC appeals to boil water before...

Mumbai: Work at Bhandup complex complete, water supply resumes; BMC appeals to boil water before...

ON CAMERA: Motorman faints in Borivali-bound train at Malad

ON CAMERA: Motorman faints in Borivali-bound train at Malad

Mumbai: Shardashram Vidya Mandir clinch U-16 Manorambai Apte T20 title

Mumbai: Shardashram Vidya Mandir clinch U-16 Manorambai Apte T20 title

Palghar: Four killed after car collides with bus on highway; visuals of mangled car surface

Palghar: Four killed after car collides with bus on highway; visuals of mangled car surface

Good news for Mumbaikars! BMC plans to open 2 Gokhale bridge lanes by May 31

Good news for Mumbaikars! BMC plans to open 2 Gokhale bridge lanes by May 31