The Bombay high court is likely to take up for hearing on Wednesday, an appeal filed by 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Shrikant Purohit challenging his custody in the case and seeking bail.
Purohit, who has been in custody after his arrest seven years ago, has claimed in his bail application filed before the HC that considering that he was a permanent commission officer of the Indian Army, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) should have followed a certain procedure while taking him into custody and since the NIA flouted the same, his custody itself must be considered as illegal.
He has also sought bail claiming that he has an “indefensible” right to bail considering that NIA is yet to conclude its investigations.
Purohit’s bail plea has been consistently been denied by a special court since 2010. His last bail plea was rejected by the special court in October last year, following which Purohit has now approached HC.
He has claimed before HC that such a “perpetual custody” makes his detention illegal and that the special court erred in rejecting his plea and thus, disregarded his fundamental right. Purohit has also claimed that the special court should have appreciated the fact that he has “an outstanding meritorious record and that he risked his life to fight against terrorism across the country.”
In the last hearing, Purohit had also argued that he had been “framed” by the investigating agencies.
On May 13, NIA had submitted a supplementary charge sheet in the trial court giving clean chit to six accused, including Sadhvi, and also recommended to drop all the charges against them. The central agency said that the shoddy probe by Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officials, forced the U-turn and also said provisions of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) are not applicable to the case.
Purohit, was charged under the anti-terror law - unlawful activities (prevention) act and the Indian Penal Code. He and nine others were named in the charge sheet.
The case was handed over from the ATS to the NIA in 2011 along with six other cases of alleged Hindu terror. The NIA charge sheet said MCOCA provisions were dropped because of procedural lapses and the ATS appeared to have filed charge sheets against one of the accused without sufficient evidence, only to fulfil conditions of the anti-terror act.
Without the MCOCA, confessions by the accused to police officers wouldn’t be admissible in court.
In the September 2008 blast in the Muslim-majority town of Malegaon, six people were killed and 101 were injured.