Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit, the army officer arrested for the Malegaon bomb blast, faces more trouble as a court here Tuesday handed him over to the Pune police in connection with a series of crimes in that city.
The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Pune police took Purohit to that city for his interrogation in various cases of forgery, cheating and offences under the Arms Act apart from a three-year old case of beating up of a Christian priest in Khadki near Pune.
He will be produced in a court there Wednesday for police custody remand in the offences punishable under sections 465, 468, 471, 474 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Judge H.K. Ganatra of the chief judicial magistrate court here explained to him.
The court was told that the offences against Purohit were registered with the Pune ATS Nov 4, though details of the cases were not immediately known.
The Pune ATS was given the army officer's custody on production of his transfer warrant.
While another Malegaon case accused Samir Kulkarni is the main accused in the case of beating the priest, Pune police want to probe Purohit's role in the case.
Kulkarni, who shifted to Madhya Pradesh from Pune over two years ago to spread the rightwing Hindutva group Abhinav Bharat's message, was remanded to judicial custody in the Malegaon case and sent to Nashik jail along with Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and six others Tuesday.
Earlier, the Mumbai ATS probing the Malegaon bomb blast produced Purohit in the court and sought judicial custody for him on expiry of his police custody even as a team of police from Pune had arrived to claim his custody in connection with the Khadki case.
Purohit's lawyer Avinash Bhide objected to his client being handing over to the Pune ATS on the plea that Judge Ganatra was holding charge in the absence of Chief Judicial Magistrate K.D. Boche.
Purohit's transfer to the Pune ATS ensures that he remains available to ATS even after the expiry of his maximum permissible police custody remand of 14 days.
Police sources said the Nashik police were meanwhile preparing to seek custody of the army officer in connection with a fake arms licence case.