The Bombay High Court Wednesday asked the National Investigating Agency (NIA) to file an affidavit in reply to the appeal filed by 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Shrikant Purohit seeking bail.
A bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice PD Naik have also tagged Purohit’s plea with that filed by his co-accused Sadhvi Pargya Thakur seeking the same relief.
In July 2016, the bench had dismissed Purohit’s appeal and asked him to file a fresh bail plea before the special NIA court in light of the supplementary chargesheet filed by NIA in June.
The NIA had, in the supplementary chargesheet, dropped Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act against all accused persons in the case.
The bench had said at the time that it would be best if the special court takes a look into Purohit’s bail plea again.
Purohit’s plea, however, was rejected by the special court and he filed an appeal once again in the High Court.
Appearing for Purohit, advocate Shrikant Shivde said, “He is not an ordinary criminal that he should be prosecuted like this. He has six bullet wounds for which he had been given medals.”
He further argued that the accusation of holding meetings and having an active role in conspiring to form a party to counter a “Jihadi party” was not true as he was sending all reports to his seniors in the military. “The special court, however, refused to consider the documents claiming the same and submitted by the Ministry of Defence,” he added.
Purohit, who has been in custody since his arrest seven years ago, has argued that he must be granted bail immediately on the simple ground that he has been under “prolonged detention” and that it has “infringed his rights to life and liberty” that are guaranteed by the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Thakur, who was given a ‘clean chit’ by the NIA earlier this year, had approached the High Court in August this year challenging the special court’s June 28 order that denied her bail in the case.
Thakur claimed that in denying her bail, the special NIA court had failed to take into consideration the “change in circumstances” in light of the NIA’s clean chit.
The High Court is likely to hear the appeals filed by both Purohit and Thakur on November 16.