2008 Malegaon blast: Bombay HC reserves order on accused Lt Col Purohit’s bail
NIA’s counsel advocate Sandesh Patil argued that both NIA’s own charge sheet and the one filed by the Maharashtra ATS established that Purohit had “participated in conspiracy meetings, given provocative speeches, agreed to get explosives for the act etc.”mumbai Updated: Mar 09, 2017 12:44 IST
The Bombay high court on Friday reserved its order on the plea filed by lieutenant colonel Shrikant Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts, challenging a lower court order that denied him bail.
A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi had been hearing Purohit’s plea on almost a daily basis for about a month.
On Friday, the National Investigating Agency (NIA) concluded its arguments, telling the court that there existed adequate “prima facie evidence” in the form of audio and video recordings, call detail records, and witness statements, to suggest that Purohit played a major role in conspiring and executing the blasts.
NIA’s counsel advocate Sandesh Patil argued that both NIA’s own charge sheet and the one filed by the Maharashtra ATS established that Purohit had “participated in conspiracy meetings, given provocative speeches, agreed to get explosives for the act etc.”
Patil argued that though the two charge sheets contained “contradictory findings” when it comes to some other accused, the NIA “did not want the ATS charge sheet to be completely obliterated,” and that the court must “consider both charge sheets.”
The NIA also argued that after taking over the investigation from ATS, it had conducted the probe into the case with all “fairness” and that it was wrong to doubt its findings.
“The fact that we have sought that the prosecution against six other accused in the case, including Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, must be dropped points out that our probe was fair and not conducted in a premeditated manner.”
Purohit, on the other hand, has argued through the previous hearings that NIA was “selective” in exonerating some accused persons and that the agency had made him a “scapegoat” in the case.
He has sought bail on the ground that the evidence against him was manufactured by the ATS, and that he has spent eight years in custody as an undertrial.
Purohit’s counsel Shrikant Shivde had argued in the previous hearing that keeping him under prolonged detention without bail, or a trial, was a “crime”.
He also argued that Purohit was a military intelligence officer for the Indian Army and he participated in the conspiracy meetings, or stayed in touch with his co-accused only to “gather intelligence for the Army.”