SC notice to Maharashtra on Col Purohit's bail plea
The Supreme Court today issued a notice to Maharashtra government on Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Prasad Srikant Purohit's petition seeking interim bail and challenging his prosecution under stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.delhi Updated: Aug 20, 2010 21:17 IST
The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to Maharashtra government on Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Prasad Srikant Purohit's petition seeking interim bail and challenging his prosecution under stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
A Bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and TS Thakur granted the state four weeks to file its response on Purohit's petition filed through counsel Shivaji M Jadhav.
Purohit, in his petition, had sought interim bail on the ground that he was languishing in jail for the past 18 months and it would take considerable time for the trial to conclude.
He challenged the judgement of the Bombay High Court, which had recently upheld the government's decision to invoke the MCOCA against him.
According to Purohit, the High Court had erred in upholding the provision against him even though a special MCOCA court had earlier quashed the charges under the Special Act while upholding the charges framed under various provisions of IPC.
Purhoit's petition claimed that to invoke MCOCA there has to be substantial information about his antecedents. As there was no previous criminal case against him, MCOCA cannot be invoked, he contended.
The accused, who was a serving Lt Colonel, was arrested by the Ant-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra police for his alleged role in the September 2008 Malegaon blasts that claimed six lives.
The army officer, who was in the military intelligence, was arrested by the ATS in November 2008 on suspicion of masterminding the Malegaon blast along with other accused Sadhvi Prayag Thakur and four others.
Purohit is the first serving Indian army officer accused of playing a major role in planning and executing a terror blast.
ATS had also arrested retired Army officer Major Ramesh Upadhyay, who along with Thakur, was said to be a member of right wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat.
Purohit had come in contact with Upadhyay when he was posted at Nashik in the Army's liaison unit.