Nine years since his arrest in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, accused Rakesh Dhawade continues to be lodged in prison while all his co-accused were, one by one, granted bail. Dhawade, lodged in Taloja central jail in Navi Mumbai, is the only one who has not applied for bail and is not likely to do so for another week or two, to complete a book he is writing.
On August 21, the Supreme Court granted bail to Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, after which four other accused in the case sought bail on grounds of parity. Nita, Dhawale’s younger sister and his legal representative, told The Indian Express that their family has been insisting that he file for bail but he has said he wants to complete the book without any distractions.
“He has been writing a book on Indian cannons. He told us that he has completed 75 per cent of the book and wants to finish writing it before he seeks bail. We had been insistent that he immediately apply for bail like the others but he did not allow us to. He says once he is released there will be too many distractions and it will break his flow in writing the book,” Nita said.
Dhawade, who was previously an assistant curator at a Pune museum, has already written 12 books while lodged in jail, including on subjects related to traditional arms and armour.
In August 2016, Dhawade had sought permission from the special court seeking permission to publish one of his writings. While prison authorities opposed the plea, the court had given him a go-ahead observing that it was part of his ‘long-standing study’. “We understand that his passion lies in his research and writing. He has made use of the time in prison to work on it with focus. It is only because of my constant insistence that he has agreed to seek bail in the next two weeks once he completes this book,” Nita said.
Dhawade was arrested in 2008 by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad on charges of involvement in the Malegaon blast, which caused the death of six persons and injured 101. The ATS had alleged Dhawade imparted training in making the bomb, relying on a confession he made. The NIA, which took over the probe and filed a chargesheet last year, said that since the confession was made under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), which was ‘dubiously’ invoked, it cannot be relied upon. It, however, did not grant Dhawade a clean chit.