ACCUSED IN Malegaon bomb blast case, Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that he was collecting intelligence for the Army as per his duty by attending conspiracy meetings held before the 2008 blast.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice M S Karnik was hearing Purohit’s plea filed in September last year, through which he had sought quashing of the charges against him.
During earlier hearings, Purohit’s counsel argued that had he had sought relief for quashing of the charges against him in view of National Investigation Agency (NIA) failing to avail prior sanction to prosecute him as per section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which prescribes procedure for prosecution of public servants, including prior sanction sought from the government.
Advocate Neela Gokhale, representing Purohit, who was booked under anti-terrorism charges by NIA, said he was merely discharging his duties as “military intelligence officer” and attended meetings of radical groups before the 2008 blast and, therefore, the NIA was required to obtain a prior sanction of the central government to prosecute him.
She referred to documents from the Army and former Mumbai Police joint commissioner Himanshu Roy, commending Purohit for the inputs and information he purportedly shared with him over the years. “I am pointing out from these documents that Purohit was discharging his duty, infiltrating in the groups and reporting to his superiors for protecting national security,” Gokhale said.
She added, “And for this work, they put him in jail, tortured him and branded him as a terrorist.”
The NIA opposed Purohit’s petition and submitted that while attending the conspiracy meetings, he was not working for the Army and, therefore, sanction under Section 197 of the CrPC was not required for his prosecution.
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