Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, the first serving Indian Army officer arrested on charges of terrorism in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blast case, has broken his silence. Here's an exclusive conversation with Outlook:
There is a general belief that it is your ideology that got you in the dock?
What ideology are you talking about?
Your right-wing ideology...
This is a very tricky question, involving both army services and sub-judice matters. I will not be able to comment.
Explain to us the dynamics of Abhinav Bharat?
I have said everything before the court of inquiry. I have infiltrated Abhinav Bharat. I can only say that I have done my job properly and kept my bosses in the loop. Everything is in the army records.
Explain your equation with Sudhakar Chaturvedi, one of the accused in the case.
It is already on record in the court of inquiry that he was my source.
And it is he who got you involved in Abhinav Bharat?
Yes. If Sudhakar Chaturvedi is giving me all the crucial information in one sitting why should I run around? I would just call Chaturvedi to my office and talk to him. That's how I was running the source.
But now Abhinav Bharat is pegged as a right-wing organisation involved in the Malegaon blast…
Having a particular ideology does not make me a terrorist or anti-national.
At any point, did you interact with your Malegaon blast co-accused Dayanand Pandey, Sameer Kulkarni or Rahirkar?
All I will say is that Rahirkar is a childhood friend.
But there are explosive telephonic conversations in possession of the ATS where you have used abusive words and talked about 'Hindu Rashtra', you cannot deny them.
Why should I deny it? Being an intelligence officer, or even as a civilian, I am allowed to talk to people. You must be having those transcripts. Have you heard or read anywhere in those transcripts people talking about Malegaon blasts? You cannot draw conclusions out of nothing.
Would you say that you infiltrated right-wing organisations or even SIMI?
If people don't understand what infiltration is, then I have to say it is a sorry state of affairs - from the investigating agencies, the media and everyone else.
Do you feel the army has let you down?
The behaviour of an individual officer, Col RK Srivastav, does not mean I discard the great organisation called the Indian Army.
Would you call yourself a victim of circumstances?
Yes. Today my situation is nothing but a reflection of one officer's vindictive nature.
How do you keep yourself occupied in jail?
I wake up early, do my pranayam, exercises and prayer. I try to help people write drafts, letters etc.