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Army may revoke Lt Col Purohit’s suspension after SC gives him bail in Malegaon blast case

Lieutenant colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit was suspended by the army shortly after his arrest in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2017 21:02 IST
Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Lieutenant colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit,2008 Malegaon blast,Supreme Court
Lieutenant colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit was the first army officer to be arrested on terrorism charges.(PTI file photo)

Granted bail by the Supreme Court in a blast case on Monday, lieutenant colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit could be back serving the army.

The army would review his suspension, which could be revoked, and he could be posted to a unit in due course, army officials said on Monday.

Purohit was arrested for his alleged involvement in the September 29, 2008 blast in Maharashtra’s Muslim-majority town of Malegaon that killed six people.

The officer, who participated in counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir and was also with military intelligence, spent almost nine years in judicial custody.

The first serving army officer to be arrested on charges of terrorism, Purohit was granted bail on a personal security of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties of the same sum.

The court directed the officer to surrender his passport and co-operate with the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the attack that came to be known as an act of “Hindu terror” along with six more cases.

The army suspended the officer shortly after his arrest in the Malegaon case. He was drawing 25% of his pay and allowances while under suspension but it was later revised to 75% following an order by the armed forces tribunal, sources said.

The officer would be attached to an army unit soon and allowed to wear his uniform, sources said. “An officer under suspension is under the same restrictions as an officer under open arrest during a general court martial. During open arrest, an officer has to wear his uniform though he may be permitted to wear civilian clothes,” an army man said.

Granting him bail, the court said there were variations in the charge sheets filed by the Mumbai anti-terrorism squad, which initially probed the case, and NIA. The trial was likely to take a long time and Purohit had been in prison for about eight years and eight months, it said.

Opposing the bail, the NIA said Purohit was the main conspirator and there was sufficient material to prove his involvement in the blast, which amounted to waging war against the state, and, that too, by violent means.

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 18:56 IST