THE Bombay High Court Wednesday started hearing arguments by the defence counsel pertaining to Colonel Prasad Purohit’s bail plea. Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, was arrested in November 2008 for allegedly procuring RDX to carry out the blast and hatching the conspiracy.
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His bail plea was earlier rejected by a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in September 2016 when he moved an application after the MCOCA charges were dropped against him and other accused by the probe agency in its supplementary chargesheet in May 2016.
Since his arrest in 2008, Purohit had applied for bail several times.
Purohit’s counsel Shrikanth Shivde argued that the RDX was falsely planted and as per NIA investigations, evidence regarding the RDX was fabricated by the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) which was investigating the case before NIA took over.
He also contended that an ATS officer was caught by a military officer while planting RDX. A division bench of justices RV More and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi was hearing the arguments.
“Col Purohit was an intelligence officer and his job was to collect inside information on terrorist activities. He had mingled with other accused and attended meetings to gather intelligence information, which he communicated with his superiors in the army,” the counsel said.
He said the Ministry of Defence has admitted that seniors in Army were in the loop and he was sharing information with them from time to time .
“On December 31, 2008, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) was extensively amended. Sanctioning procedure was bypassed by the ATS which is mandatory before applying UAPA charges. Besides, the amendment
imposed restrictions to apply for bail and since Purohit was arrested before the amendment and had applied for bail then, amendment should not be applied retrospectively,” said Shivde.
He also added that Colonel Purohit has served eight years in jail which means he has served the minimum punishment prescribed for the offences he is accused of.
The counsel also submitted that the NIA investigations point out that Purohit and many others were tortured by the ATS and that witnesses have disowned statements made to the ATS during NIA’s investigation. The arguments will continue on Thursday along with Malegaon blast co-accused Sadhvi Pragya’s bail plea arguments.