The Supreme Court today declined to grant bail to Lieutenant Colonel SP Purohit, one of the key accused in the case relating to 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts which killed seven people.
"It is a grievous offence. Many people were killed. The trial is still on," the apex court said when Purohit's counsel submitted that the accused was languishing in jail for the past two years.
A Bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and T S Thakur, however, admitted the appeal filed by Purohit challenging his prosecution under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and agreed to expedite the hearing.
Though co-accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur had filed a similar appeal, it did not come up for hearing. Both the accused have challenged the Bombay High Court's direction allowing Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad(ATS) to invoke MCOCA against them.
The High Court had passed the direction after reversing a judgement of a designated MCOCA court which had on July 31, 2009, quashed the charges against the duo and nine others.
The accused have taken the plea that the High Court had erred in upholding MCOCA provision against them and submitted that to invoke the Act, there should be previous history of organised criminal activities against them.
It was submitted that they had no prior criminal antecedents and even in the present bomb blast case they were falsely implicated. Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nasik district Maharashtra.
The probe into the blast had brought into focus some right-wing Hindu groups. A special MCOCA court had on July 31, 2009, held that ATS had wrongly applied MCOCA in the case against Pragya, Purohit and nine others.