Lt Col Prasad Purohit,the prime suspect in the Malegaon blast case,has got bail in another case,involving fake arms licence case,after the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) could not file a chargesheet within the stipulated 90 days a failure it blames it on army rules.
The ATS explained to the Pune judicial magistrate on Thursday that the army rules delayed the questioning of a serving officer,which would have made it possible to file the chargesheet.
The ATS said it had sought permission in late January from the Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACC & S),Ahmednagar,to interrogate a serving captain,reportedly the prime witness in the case. But the ACC & S authorities told the ATS that as per army rules,they could interrogate the captain only after getting permission from the Southern Command and Delhi Headquarters.
Thus,the ATS said,it managed to record the captains statement only on February 24. The ATS said it had also seized a letter that Purohit had written to the captain,which was sent for handwriting analysis. The other reason cited for the delay was the non-receipt of the handwriting analysis report of a letter written by Purohit to the army captain.
The ATS had booked Purohit for allegedly procuring a rifle and a fake gun licence for Milind Date,a resident of Erandwane. Purohit allegedly accepted Rs 35,000 from Date.
The ATS had seized the fake licence and rifle from Date on November 4,after which Date had lodged a complaint against Purohit,accusing the officer of cheating and forgery.
According to the ATS,its investigations revealed that Purohit had written a letter to the captain,currently posted at the ACC & S,in connection with the rifle. The ATS said the captain was an important witness in the case.
Judicial Magistrate (first class) G G Itkalkar had granted bail to Purohit on Tuesday. On Wednesday,he issued a notice to the ATS seeking an explanation from the investigation officer why the chargesheet was not submitted in time. The court order on Tuesday had said Purohit was first produced before the court on November 19,2008.
Purohit,who has been booked under MCOCA in the Malegaon blast case,continues to be in judicial custody in Mumbai.