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Malegaon blast case: Was present at Abhinav Bharat meetings as army mole says Col. Purohit

Army officer Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Purohit told the Supreme Court on Thursday that he was a victim of political crossfire and denied his involvement in the Malegaon blast.

india Updated: Aug 17, 2017 23:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Malegoan Blast case,Colone Srikant Purohit,Supreme Court
Purohit also admitted to attending meetings of Abhinav Bharat — headed by co-accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur — but as an army mole. (HT File Photo)

Army officer Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Purohit told the Supreme Court on Thursday that he was a victim of political crossfire and denied his involvement in the Malegaon blast.

Purohit also admitted to attending meetings of Abhinav Bharat — headed by co-accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur — but as an army mole.

Senior advocate Harish Salve pointed to inconsistencies in the Bombay high court verdict of April 25 that denied bail to his client Purohit and said a court of inquiry (COI) report had confirmed that his attendance at the organisation’s meetings was to gather intelligence inputs about its activities. “It was not a banned organisation under the law,” Salve told a bench headed by justice RK Agrawal that reserved its verdict on the bail application.

Purohit and Thakur are accused of plotting the September 2008 Malegaon blast. Six people were killed and about 100 injured when a bomb strapped to a motorcycle exploded in Nashik town.

Maharashtra’s anti-terror squad (ATS) undertook the investigation and booked the accused under the stringent MCOCA law, invoked to book those involved in organised crime. ATS had filed a final report of its probe before the trial court.

However, the probe was later transferred to NIA, which filed a separate charge sheet stating that ATS had planted the RDX found from Purohit’s house. MCOCA charges were also dropped.

HC held that prima facie, no case was made out against Pragya and gave her bail. Purohit was denied the relief on the grounds that the charges against him were serious. Salve said the NIA charge sheet virtually absolved his client and the HC had erred in holding that the COI documents could not be relied upon at the stage of bail. His client, he said, had spent over eight years in jail and charges in the case were yet to be framed.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 23:42 IST