2008 Malegaon blasts: Lt Col Purohit’s family keeps low profile in Pune

Lt Col Purohit is main accused in bombing Malegaon town that killed six people nine years ago

pune Updated: Aug 22, 2017 09:56 IST
Satyajit Joshi
Satyajit Joshi
Hindustan Times, Pune
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Malegaon blast case accused Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit being taken to a session court in Mumbai.(PTI)

The relatives and well-wishers of Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit kept a low profile on Monday after hearing the news of his bail by the Supreme Court. They may have to wait for another two-three days for him to return to his house.

Hailing from a middle class Maharastrian family, Col Purohit has a ancestral house on Law College Road in Pune. His wife Aparna, who is fighting the case for the past nine years, stays here along with their two sons.

The housing society where Col Purohit spent most of his childhood days and even after joining the Indian Army witnessed no special activity. A few relatives and well-wishers were seen outside Col Purohit’s house. While Col Purohit’s two sons – one an engineering student and another a school student — were unavailable for comment, his mother and sister refused to meet any visitor at the house.

Sources close to the Purohit family said that they have been advised by the lawyers to not talk to any outsider. However, a few groups have already undertaken preparations to welcome him. They are mainly his friends from school and college.

Local BJP corporator Jayant Bhave, who knows the Purohit family for a long period and has seen Col Purohit since his childhood, met the family. Welcoming the decision, Bhave said that he expects the court proceedings would be completed soon and Col Prasad would be proved innocent.

Neighbours and old friends describe him as a soft-spoken and hard working man, who was eager since his childhood days to join the Army. Son of a bank officer, Col Purohit completed his education from Abhinav School on Law College Road and graduated from Garware College. He later joined Maratha Light Infantry after passing out from the Officers’ Training Academy in Chennai in 1994.

Col Purohit, family sources said, was part of Intelligence Field Security system.

According to prosecution, Col Purohit came in contact with some Hindutva organisation when he was posted in Deolali in Nashik district. He is alleged to be a member of Abhinav Bharat,a radical Hindu group.

Col Purohit was accused of having stolen a few arms and ammunition from the Army, which was allegedly used to carry out the Malegaon bomb blast in 2008. He was also charged with funding and training Hindu extremist groups. Six people died and many were injured in September 29, 2008 in the communally-sensitive textile town of Malegaon. A bomb placed on a motorcycle exploded after the Friday prayers had ended at a mosque.

After his arrest in Malegaon bomb blast, Col Purohit was brought to Pune court in November 2009. The case filed by Maharashtra ATS charge Col Purohit with helping one Milind Date to procure arm licence with fake documents.

He was released by the Pune court when lawyer pointed out that the prosecution has failed to file a charge sheet. Public prosecutor had argued that the charge sheet could not be filed in the absence of necessary documents by army officials. Col Purohit’s lawyer pointed out that army officials had provided all the information to the government prosecutor. Court then granted him bail.

First Published: Aug 22, 2017 09:54 IST