Purohit had challenged the decision of the lower court in the high court, seeking a stay on the framing of charges
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday declined to stay a lower court order for framing of charges in a case against Lt. Col. Srikant P. Purohit and 13 other accused in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blast.
Purohit had challenged the decision of the lower court in the high court, seeking a stay on the framing of charges on September 5, the critical pre-trial process in the case.
On August 29, Special Judge Vinod Padalkar of the NIA Special Court had ruled that charges would be framed against Purohit and the remaining 13 accused in the Malegaon case.
Besides challenging the Special Court order, Purohit also sought a stay on the proceedings until the court finally decided on the applicability of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, under which all the 14 main accused, among them Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur, have been charged, besides provisions of the Indian Penal Code and other laws.
He also questioned the sanction granted by the Maharashtra government in January 2009, for his prosecution and the dismissal of his plea seeking a discharge from the case by the Special Court in December 2017.
The development came exactly 10 years after a powerful low-intensity bomb planted on a motorcycle ripped through a crowded Muslim-majority locality of Malegaon town in Nashik, on September 29, 2008, killing seven and injuring over 100 people.
Purohit, who was granted bail in 2017 after spending nine years in custody, is currently posted at the Military Station in Colaba, south Mumbai.
The 14 accused (including Purohit) are: a former Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur, a self-proclaimed seer, Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey, Rakesh Dhawde, Sameer Kulkarni, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Pravin Takalki, Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyam Sahu, Ajay Rahirkar, and Jagdish Mhatre, besides two absconders, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra.
India top court rejects Purohit’s plea for judicial probe
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the plea by Malegaon bomb blast case accused Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit for a judicial probe into his alleged abduction and torture by investigating agencies prior to his implication in the case.
“Why should we interfere at this stage? It will have some impact on the ongoing trial”, the bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Navin Sinha and Justice K.M. Joseph said.
Senior counsel Harish Salve represented Purohit and urged the court to let the National Investigation Agency (NIA) look into it.
Urging the court to grant them the liberty to raise the issue before the trial court, Salve said the dismissal of the plea would be viewed differently.
The court permitted Lt. Col. Purohit to raise the issue before the trial court.
Purohit is facing trial in Malegaon blast case and was granted bail by the Supreme Court on August 12, 2017.
Purohit is the main accused in the Malegaon blast, which killed six persons in the Muslim-dominated powerloom town in Nashik district on September 29, 2008.
Purohit had based his plea for a judicial probe into his alleged abduction and torture on revelation by former Home Ministry Joint Secretary R.V.S. Mani in which he is said to have indicated that Purohit was “framed by some factions in the previous government in the name of ‘saffron terror’.”
Mani’s revelation, Purohit said, had shocked him as he had “finally understood his role, of being used as a pawn, in the larger scheme of political spectrum by selfish political interests.”
Mani, according to Purohit, had given interview to media houses and even written a book ‘The Hindu Terror — Insider Account of Ministry of Home Affairs 2006-2010’.
“In these circumstances, the perpetrators and schemers of such sinister modus operandi, compromising national security, are required to be identified and made accountable,” the petitioner had said in his plea.
He had pointed out that there was “complete subversion of the criminal justice system by the state itself, and there is credible reason to fear that a citizen of this country, no less than an officer of the Indian Army, can be abducted, brutally tortured, labelled a terrorist and put away for nine years without a trial.”