Malegaon blasts case: Bombay high court rejects Purohit’s plea challenging stringent charges

Accused Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sameer Kulkarni had challenged the application of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act

mumbai Updated: Dec 19, 2017 10:24 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Malegaon blasts,Bombay high court
Purohit was released from Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai after the Supreme Court granted him bail in the case in August 2017.(HT File Photo)

The Bombay high court on Monday rejected a petition filed by Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sameer Kulkarni, both accused in 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts case, challenging the application of the stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967, to the case.

The division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Nitin Sambre dismissed their petitions saying the trial court will take their objections at an appropriate time. Purohit had challenged the application of the Act contending that it was in violation of the mandatory provisions of the UAPA. On January 17, 2009, Additional Chief Secretary of the Maharashtra home department had accorded sanction to apply stringent provisions of the UAPA to the case.

Shrikant Shivade, Purohit’s consel, said sanctioning the application of the Act was in contravention of section 45 of the UAPA, which requires the sanctioning authority to take into consideration the report and recommendation of appropriate authority appointed by the government.

Shivade said no appropriate authority had been appointed by Maharashtra government, as required under this section, and so there was breach of mandatory requirement of the provision. “The sanction is, therefore, vitiated and thus, there is no question of framing charges under provisions of UAPA and there can be no trial for violation of these provisions,” he submitted.

Advocate Sandesh Patil, who represented the National Investigation Agency (NIA), said Purohit had raised the issue of sanction even before in the high court while seeking bail and his contentions were dealt with and rejected by the HC, and the Supreme Court confirmed them. Patil also pointed out SC’s observation that the contentions can be considered only at the trial.

Besides, the bench also took into consideration the fact that the petitioners have argued their discharge applications before the trial court and it has reserved its order on their pleas.

On September 29, 2008, a powerful bomb exploded outside a religious shrine in which six people were killed and around 100 were injured. On October 23, 2008, Maharashtra Anti-Terrorists Squad made its first arrests in the case. On January 20, 2009, ATS filed a chargesheet in the case after completing its investigation, and on April 1, 2011, Centre transferred the case to the NIA.

First Published: Dec 18, 2017 18:47 IST