Malegaon 2008 blast case: Citing differences in chargesheets, Supreme Court grants Lt Col Purohit bail

Supreme court said his “right to bail” cannot be denied merely because the “sentiments of the community” were “against” him.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: August 22, 2017 6:47 am
2008 Malegaon blast case, Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, Shrikant Purohit, Shrikant Purohit bail, Lt Col bail, India news, Indian Express Shrikant Purohit (Source: File)

THE SUPREME Court on Monday granted bail to Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, observing that there were contradictions in the chargesheets filed by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The court said his “right to bail” cannot be denied merely because the “sentiments of the community” were “against” him.

“Keeping in view the fact that NIA has submitted the supplementary chargesheet which is at variance with the chargesheet filed by the ATS, and that the trial is likely to take a long time and the appellant has been in prison for about eight years and eight months, we are of the considered view that the appellant has made out a prima facie case for release on bail and we deem it appropriate to enlarge the appellant herein on bail,” said a bench of Justices R K Agrawal and A M Sapre.

“At the stage of granting bail, a detailed examination of evidence and elaborate documentation of the merits of the case has not to be undertaken. The grant or denial (of bail) is regulated, to a large extent, by the facts and circumstances of each particular case. But at the same time, right to bail is not to be denied merely because of the sentiments of the community against the accused,” it added.

“Liberty of a citizen is undoubtedly important, but this is to balance with the security of the community. A balance is required to be maintained between the personal liberty of the accused and the investigational rights of the agency. It must result in minimum interference with the personal liberty of the accused and the right of the agency to investigate the case,” said the court.

On the contradictions between the NIA and ATS chargesheets, the bench said these are “to be tested at the time of trial and this court cannot pick or choose one version over the other”.

The case dates back to September 29, 2008, when six people were killed in a bomb blast at Malegaon. Purohit was arrested in November 2008.

Though the NIA had opposed the bail plea, the supplementary chargesheet filed by the agency mentioned that the recovery of RDX from the house of an accused, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, was suspect as there were doubts that it could have been planted by the ATS.

Senior Counsel Harish Salve had pointed out to the court that ATS Assistant Police Inspector Bagde was found in Chaturvedi’s house on November 2, 2008, when the latter was not at home. Taking this into account, the court said: “It is also pertinent to mention here that the ATS conducted a search of the house of Accused-11 (Chaturvedi) on November 25, 2008. wherefrom they had taken the swab of RDX which creates a doubt on the recovery of RDX.”

During the hearing, the court had wondered if anything remained of the charges against Purohit if there were doubts regarding his role in the supply of RDX.

On the ATS claim that he had floated the Hindu outfit, Abhinav Bharat, which is alleged to be behind the Malegaon blast, Purohit, who was with the Army Intelligence, contended that it was a “covert operation” to infiltrate the group and that he had passed on information to his superior officers.

The court asked Purohit to furnish a personal security of Rs 1 lakh, two additional sureties of the same amount, and surrender his passport before being released on bail.

The court also told him that he should make himself available for the investigation, as and when required by the NIA, and should “not, directly or indirectly, make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade that person from disclosing such facts to the court or to the investigating agency or to any police officer”.

In April, the Bombay High Court granted bail to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, another accused in the case. The high court had rejected Purohit’s bail plea.

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  1. M
    Mohan
    Aug 23, 2017 at 9:16 pm
    Assistant Inspector Bagde should be taken into custody by a Court monitored probe team to uncover who are those behind creation of Hindu terror -- if charges against the army officer are false the culprits do this wrong to him should be tried for treason
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      Parth Garg
      Aug 22, 2017 at 1:47 pm
      Bail to Purohit is based on the fact that NIA has submitted the supplementary chargesheet which is at variance with the chargesheet filed by the ATS. While bail could be justified there is no order by the Court against the investigating agencies for this flip-flop.
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      1. M
        Mohan
        Aug 22, 2017 at 12:21 pm
        Our Cons ution to be amended so that no foreign born low life hereafter can become an MLA MP or VP or the President after acquiring citizenship
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        1. Bipin Bhardwaj
          Aug 22, 2017 at 12:06 pm
          The root cause of the problem lies in the existing system of democracy, which enables elected people’s representatives to use state power to terrorise and massacre people. The system deprives the people of any means to prevent such crimes or to ensure punishment of the guilty. What exists in the name of the "rule of law" is in fact the rule of arbitrariness, a system where a small minority in society enjoys unlimited powers to do what it pleases. When the rulers are the criminals and the criminals control the judges, what must the people do? We must organise to replace the rule of arbitrariness with a new political power where the people themselves will be both the rulers and the ruled.
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            ChaupatNagri
            Aug 22, 2017 at 10:25 am
            "Supreme Court grants bail to Lt Col Shrikant Purohit in Malegaon case' What is new in this news.? The Next news will be that " Lt Col Shrikant Purohit is acquitted given Green Chit" It is Modi's pre election commitment to free all safforn terrorists convicted of murders rapes. This is only one promise Modi is alive on.
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              A Gopal
              Aug 22, 2017 at 11:12 am
              Abe Gaddhe Chaupat, You really suffer from verbal diarrohea. Why do you talk this rubbish ?How can Modi free anyone convicted of murder ???? In this case Malegaon blasts took place in 2007 and Modi came to power in 2014. What is the reason for the utter failure of your Congi Government to obtain conviction for Col Shrikant Purohit ??? In fact even the charges were not framed That is why the SC has freed him on bail after spending 9 years in Jail. Abe Dukkar, if you have the proof then produce it and jail Col Purohit for life.If you do not have proof then just shut up !!!
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                ChaupatNagri
                Aug 22, 2017 at 11:28 am
                Abe RSS/BJP key Andhey Kanoon main Sarey Mass Murderers from Gujarat 2002 Massacre getting bail and roaming free. Now as Gadde Andh Bhakt you will say Gujarat Massacre and Riot in which thousands killed never happened. Same way in Vyapam cold blooded murders of 50 innocent all have been released. THIS IS MODI AND BJP JUNGLE RAJ.
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                1. O
                  Oye
                  Aug 22, 2017 at 11:45 am
                  Gopal re....Bhang ghat piya karo.
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                  Patidar
                  Aug 22, 2017 at 11:44 am
                  People from all over India commenting of Gujarat 2002 incident with such authority. The actual number of Hindus-Muslims killed in Gujarat were 284. And the main conspirators are serving life terms. All those police officers who retracted from their deputed duties were terminated. Corruption in India is so endemic that how Congress managed to frame Col Purohit as a Samjhauta blast handler and processed his extradition to Pakistan. This case file shows how Congress went out to seek affection from Muslims and b ed an innocent as Hindu terrorist.
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                  1. O
                    Oye
                    Aug 22, 2017 at 11:56 am
                    Bhang ghat piya karo. International media reported over 2000 from Muslim Areas who were Lynched, burnt alive, raped. For that reason Modi was banned from civilized country. The number you giving is from only one housing society. Main Accuse kodani is out an many others even not charge sheeted. Hardly few spent some time in jail and are now roaming freely.
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                      Phoonsuk Wangdoo
                      Aug 22, 2017 at 2:08 pm
                      ✓Oye, go and ask Hindus in Ahmedabad why they hated Muslims at that time. What did the Muslims do to them for all these decades? If Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep can influence Guardian and New York times for anti Trump campaigns, what else can one expect from media. The role that Rajdeep and NDTV played in 2002 to frame Modi.
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                    2. Bipin Bhardwaj
                      Aug 22, 2017 at 12:10 pm
                      Shame,. Legal system in this country is NOT only blind and defunct but assist those who manipulate it.The judges choose to ignore the enormous pressure and threats to their very lives that these witnesses have had to face, to prevent them from naming any prominent also guilty of having manipulated the investigative and judicial process . Every trick possible, from suppressing and doctoring the evidence, to terrorising the witnesses and bribing judges. Bail has been managed and judiciary has been compromised, another blow to democracy from the rulers.
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