Army probe had found Purohit dealt in illegal weapons deals

The report stated that Purohit was “involved in procurement and disposal of wpns (weapons) for monetary benefits”. It said he initially dealt with a Pune-based arms dealer but later started interacting with Rakesh Dhawde (an accused in the Malegaon case).

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Published:August 26, 2017 4:51 am
malegaon bombings case, supreme court, Lt Col Purohit, Purohit bail, 2008 malegaon blasts, 2006 malegaon blasts Navi Mumbai: Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, who was granted bail by the Supreme Court on Monday in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, being taken to the Sessions Court from Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai on Tuesday. PTI Photo (PTI8_22_2017_000142B)

Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, the 2008 Malegaon blast accused who was granted bail Monday by the Supreme Court, left the Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai with an Army escort two days later. He said he was ready to don the uniform again. But a report of the Directorate General of Military Intelligence (DGMI), which indicted Purohit for his “activities unbecoming of an Army officer”, is likely to come in the way of his reinstatement.

The report dated July 27, 2011 lists the findings of a DGMI probe that began soon after Purohit’s name came up in the blast case. It not only detailed his involvement with Hindutva radicals and his alleged role in the Malegaon blast but also accused him of dealing in arms illegally and selling ordnance weapons.

The report stated that Purohit was “involved in procurement and disposal of wpns (weapons) for monetary benefits”. It said he initially dealt with a Pune-based arms dealer but later started interacting with Rakesh Dhawde (an accused in the Malegaon case). According to the DGMI, Dhawde had access to illegal weapons and explosives.

“Easy availability of weapons to Lt Col Purohit helped in raising his status among core group who were seeking explosives and weapons to execute violent activities,” the report stated. Under a section headlined ‘Involvement of Lt Col P S Purohit in Weapons Transaction’, the report stated: “On 09 May 05, the officer sold his own ordnance issued NSP 7.62 mm pistol to… an arms and ammunition dealer in Pune. Sale of Ord issued 7.62 weapon is illegal. On the same day, he acquired .32 mm NP bore revolver from Machine Test Prototype Factory, Ambernath. Both the entries are endorsed in the weapon licence. During this transaction, the officer gained confidence and monetary benefits.”

It mentioned transactions relating to five weapons. Detailing another such sale, the report stated that in December 2006-January 2007, a Lt Col, since retired, also sent a .32 Lama pistol for disposal at Pune. “The wpn (weapon) was delivered to Maj (now Lt Col) P S Purohit at Devlali through spl courier despatched from Manipur. The wpn was illegally sold for Rs 35,000” to the Pune arms dealer.

The probe also found Purohit to be in possession of a .32 Webley and Scott revolver purchased from the arms dealer. In August 2007, Purohit procured a .45 revolver from a Colonel posted at Devlali and sold it to Dhawde for Rs 30,000. “Prima facie, disposal of the weapon by Lt Col Purohit is illegal,” the report stated.

According to the report, Dhawde received seven 9 mm service revolver ammunition from Purohit “which was taken out from Army units of Devlali”. This was something, the report said, Purohit admitted to during interrogation. He also purchased a 9 mm pistol from Dhawde for Rs 50,000. This, the report said, was given to one Aloke to kill an RSS leader. Purohit had convinced a group of radicals of Abhinav Bharat that the RSS leader was an ISI agent. “Lt Col Purohit directed Ajay Rahirkar (of Abhinav Bharat) to pay Rs 3.5 lakh to procure more weapons,” the report stated. It also accused Purohit of receiving money for purchase of a grenade and helping civilians get arms licences through false declarations.

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