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Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit claims he kept Army in loop, Army blew his cover

The inquiry found that Purohit maintained a well-stocked library with books on Shivaji, Arabic language, ornithology and children’s literature.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Updated: August 24, 2017 8:46 am
Lt Col Purohit, Purohit bail, SC Purohit bail, Army Purohit, 2008 Malegaon blasts, Army, India news, Indian Express In an Army convoy, Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit leaves Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai, Wednesday. (Source: Express Photo/Narendra Vaskar)

A key defence of 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, who stepped out of Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai Wednesday after being granted bail by the Supreme Court, was that he had infiltrated radical Hindutva groups as an intelligence officer and had informed his superiors about it.

In interviews, Purohit maintained that the Army always stood by him. But an inquiry, conducted by the Directorate General of Military Intelligence after it was informed by the Intelligence Bureau of his involvement, found that he had taken counter-measures to dissociate himself from the blast case and generated intelligence on the alleged involvement of accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur after learning from his sources that she was going to be held by the Maharashtra ATS.

The inquiry concluded that “the officer is highly indoctrinated, deals with illegal proliferation of weapons and hiding facts”. The inquiry report also said that his wife, Aparna Purohit, “revealed that her husband has deep hatred for Islam and he may be involved in activities directed against them”.

The inquiry report, dated July 27, 2011, was signed by a Major General, the then ADG MI (B). It stated that the first information regarding involvement of Lt Col Purohit was verbally conveyed by the then IB Director to the then Chief of Army Staff on October 22, 2008. At that time, Purohit was enrolled for a course in Arabic language at AEC Training College, Pachmarhi. The Malegaon blasts, which killed eight persons and left another 80 injured, took place on September 29, 2008.

However, by the time Director of MI 9 reached Pachmarhi to confront Purohit, the report stated, the element of surprise was lost since the media had already begun reporting on the alleged involvement of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, and the raid by the Maharashtra ATS at Purohit’s house in Pune. “Thus the officer was aware of him being subjected to questioning on specific issues. In fact, the officer had already taken adequate counter-measures to obliterate his linkages with the perpetrators by informing key persons to switch off mobile and adopt cover stories,” the report stated.

“In addition, on 13 Oct 08, on receiving confirmation from his informers about apprehension of Sadhvi by ATS, he telephonically informed CO SCLU, IO SCLU (Devlali) and initiated a written report to CCLU Team at Jabalpur intimating involvement of Sadhvi Pragya Singh in the Malegaon Bomb Blast,” the report stated.

It said that during inquiry and interrogation, “his arrogant behaviour, occasional absence from class, extreme religious mindset and attempt to purchase semi-auto carbine from… a retired AEC officer settled in Pachmarhi was revealed”. The officers who conducted the inquiry also met Purohit’s wife who “appeared in state of shock and even accused him for not heeding to her advice to disassociate with religious activities. She further revealed that her husband has deep hatred for Islam and he may be involved in activities directed against them,” the report stated.

The inquiry found that Purohit maintained a well-stocked library with books on Shivaji, Arabic language, ornithology and children’s literature. “He specifically mentioned a book written by a Marathi author on mindset of Islam. A magazine of Hindu Mahasabha (Savarkar Gp) was also placed in the house. He took pride in explaining that books on Shivaji were purchased from a defunct library. An old sword was displayed in his house which he linked to Maratha Army of Peshwas,” the report stated.

The report mentioned an SUV and six phones that the officer owned. “Between 07 Oct and 24 Oct 08, he used these mobile nos to warn his associates through direct calls and SMS. His close associates were told to switch off mobile no. and take new sim,” it stated. According to the report, when Purohit was questioned about his association with Abhinav Bharat, accused Ramesh Upadhyay and Bhonsala Military Academy, he was evasive. It said Purohit “did not give clue on the extent of his involvement”.

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    Madhur Sharm
    Aug 29, 2017 at 10:14 pm
    Why don't you scan and release the report to the the public? It's not that you are not doing it for the sake of its confidentiality. You have already disclosed its crux to the public. What's stopping you from uploading it to the public? 'semi automatic carbine' Can a person possess that? Please produce the report. Unless you back up this article with the complete report, this is just another of your concocted stories.
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      Manish
      Aug 24, 2017 at 6:31 pm
      A classic example of PAID news. Isn't this the very newspaper that also concocted the story of a coup by the Indian Army ? What happened all these years ? Where all has the Army taken over ? These Congress stooges are unable to come to terms with the fact that their days of free loading and looting are over. Now that they are being taken to task. A way to divert attention (remember Karthi Chidambaram is under lens for p ering the nation of THOUSANDS of crores ?) is to make the nation cringe by maligning its most loyal and steadfast organisation - The Indian Armed Forces. And Chidambaram has a big role to play in the term 'Hindu Terror'. The writer, through this poor piece of journalism, has revealed his leanings and his moneybag sources. It was expected of Indian Express to publish this trash. It is evident that there has been no editing to remove bias and falsehoods ("Purohit's wife said he may be involved in activities directed against Islam"). Was she too tortured ? Sad !
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        sunil vaidya
        Jan 26, 2018 at 7:18 pm
        Which paper published the bofors affair? it was sweden chief of police lindstrom who was the whistleblower...he could not make headway about his bofors investigation in sweden and so leaked the documents to N ram and chitra subramanian...this same paper which is now writing about hemant karkare and purohit case...
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        Pramod Mane
        Aug 24, 2017 at 2:18 pm
        Please please please, start writing his name correctly. His name is Prasad. Shrikant is his father's name. At least read the first line of the bail order. Also there are many more factual error. But you have got the very name wrong, so who cares.
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        1. Ravindra Ghooi
          Aug 24, 2017 at 2:14 pm
          Of all the nonsense I have read about this case, this report takes the cake. A number of issues arise. 1. If the Army was convinced about his guilt, why was he not court martialed? 2. Why was this report not placed before the court? Actually the Army reports suggested his evidence, hence they were not given to the court. 3. How does an AEC officer have a carbine? 4. If the army thought he was a criminal why is he in the Sub Area Headquarters in Colaba? I think this guy Deeptiman Tiwari is a henchman of Congress which has framed Purohit. This guy should be sued for defamation. At least he should be sacked from Indian Express.
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            yuvraj
            Aug 24, 2017 at 1:10 pm
            All that jabbering of a few Indian express on investigation must have gone down the drains in Noida after this story. This irresponsible Tiwary is naking Purohit's wife and the officer mentioned on the basia of a report someone told him was filed. I have notified to the Army that they must make the copy of that report public. NIA should have a copy of that report and now file a chargesheet. If what you blabbered is true then now Purohit should go back to jail right? So now see what Army and NIA does. May be its time this Deeptiman Tiwary goes to jail and brings some good name to Indian Express. Lets report his false allegations to Delhi Police. Those who share the same view report too.
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