For the first time ever, a serving officer of the Indian Army has been arrested in connection with a terrorism attack in India.
The Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra arrested Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Prasad Purohit on Wednesday for his alleged involvement in the September 29 Malegaon blast that killed four people.
Purohit was produced before the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Nashik. The court remanded him in police custody till November 15 and allowed investigators to conduct narco-analysis tests on the officer to take the probe ahead.
<b1>Posted at the Army Education Corps at Panchmarhi in Madhya Pradesh, Purohit was sent to Mumbai on October 31 for questioning by the investigators after his name emerged in the blast case, army headquarters had earlier confirmed.
A liaisoning officer from the army headquarters in New Delhi told HT, “Based on the inputs gathered from other arrested accused, the ATS sought the officer’s custody for questioning under their detention.”
On what action Purohit faced following his arrest, the official said, “After considering all the legalities, we agreed to hand over the officer. Further action would be taken on the basis of inputs we receive from the probe ahead.”
Links have been found between Purohit and members of Abhinav Bharat, the Hindu outfit being investigated in the blast. Police sources said Purohit allegedly sent text messages on the mobile phone of Major (retd) Ramesh Upadhyay, a suspect in the blast, warning of the probe.
Sources said the four messages that Purohit sent to Upadhyay allegedly read: “Cat is out of the basket”, “Singh (Shivnarayan Singh Kalsangra, who was arrested earlier) has sung”, “We are on the radar of ATS” and “Change the SIM card”.
Purohit has been implicated on the basis of prosecution’s oral submission about the SMSes, said his lawyer Avinash Bhide. “No details about the SMSes was produced in the court.” Investigators also suspect Purohit supplied RDX for the blast.