Prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast, Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, Wednesday urged the Bombay High Court to set aside previous orders passed by the special court, so he could apply for bail afresh in light of the recent supplementary chargesheet filed by the National Investigating Agency (NIA).
Purohit had approached the HC seeking bail on the ground that he had been in detention for over seven-and-a-half years and such “prolonged detention infringes his Rights to life and liberty” guaranteed by the constitution.
Citing several Supreme Court orders, Purohit’s lawyer Shrikant Shivde said bail has been granted in such cases on the basis of delay. He further said that several accused persons who were facing “charges of terrorism in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case” have been given bail.
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“The Bombay blast case is a more serious matter. The High Court can grant interim bail in the matter and the lower court can decide if it is to be conferred or not,” Shivde added.
“There is no evidence linking him (Purohit) to the blasts. He informed his senior about the conspiracy meeting and sent a report in this regard. Why would he have done this if he was part of the conspiracy?” he said.
The lawyer also urged the court to consider that in its supplementary chargesheet filed before the special court last month, the NIA has dropped the stringent charge of MCOCA against all accused. Instead, it has suggested that Purohit and the others be tried under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which is still applicable.
However, the stringent UAPA provision on bail — that in extreme cases where courts find reasonable grounds to believe that the terror charges are prima facie true, the accused may be denied bail altogether — must not be applied to Purohit’s case retrospectively.
The public prosecutor pointed out that since the special court had decided the bail on the basis of the previous chargesheet and not the recent one, the High Court should also review the order keeping this in mind.
The court is likely to consider the issue of retrospectively at length. The hearing is likely to continue on Thursday.