The bail plea of 2008 Malegaon blasts accused Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit is likely to come up for hearing on Monday before the Supreme Court where he will be represented by senior lawyer Harish Salve.
Salve was recently fielded by the government to defend Kulbhushan Jadhav, the alleged Indian spy in Pakistan’s custody, at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). He earlier represented the State during the hearing of the Malegaon blasts case before the Bombay High Court during an appeal against the trial court’s decision to revoke stringent MCOCA against the blasts accused.
Confirming this, Purohit’s counsel Neeta Gokhale told The Indian Express, “Mr Salve will be representing Purohit at the SC for the bail hearing.” Salve didn’t respond to calls and messages.
Purohit had moved his bail plea before the apex court after a bail was denied by the Bombay HC in April. The SC sought a reply from the NIA on Purohit’s plea in May, after which the agency reiterated its stand and filed an affidavit stating that Purohit is one of the key conspirators in the 2008 Malegaon blast case and is the founder-member of Abhinav Bharat.
The case was initially investigated by the Maharashtra ATS, which in its 2009 chargesheet stated that Purohit collected funds for the organisation which were then used for promoting fundamentalism and unlawful acts. The probe was handed over to the NIA in 2011 along with a clutch of other blast cases involving right-wing extremists, including the 2007 Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Dargah bombings.