The special court, which Wednesday dropped charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against 12 accused including Pragya Singh Thakur and Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, has said a conclusion cannot be drawn that Purohit had participated in the alleged conspiracy meetings of the blast in discharge of his duty as a military intelligence officer or with permission from his superiors.
The observations were made by the court in its detailed order passed Wednesday that ruled that Purohit and six others will face trial under anti-terror laws and for criminal conspiracy and murder.
Purohit had relied on documents from the Court of Inquiry, conducted by the Army, to “exonerate” himself from the case. He had submitted that he was working as a military intelligence officer and was attending the meetings to generate counter-intelligence. He had said one of the men, who is now a prosecution witnesses, had attended the meetings as an Intelligence Bureau officer. Purohit had claimed since he was not satisfied with the witness as a source of intelligence, Purohit made certain statements in the meeting.
“There is no record to show that while attending the above meetings (in Faridabad and Bhopal) as well as other meetings alleged by the prosecution, accused 9 (Purohit) was on duty. On the contrary, it appears from the leave record of accused number 9 that most of the time he was on leave or meetings were scheduled on public holidays,” said special Judge S D Tekale. He further said there was no material to show Purohit had gone to attend a meeting in Faridabad in 2008 with the permission of superiors. “It is pertinent to note that at that time he was on deputation at Panchmadhi for training,” the court said.
In the meetings in Faridabad in January 2008 and in Bhopal in April 2008, the accused, including Purohit, had allegedly discussed the creation of a separate “Hindu Rashtra” and put forth the concept of forming the government in exile in Israel and Thailand.
“It appears that most of the talks (opinion or thoughts) are of accused number 9 Lt Col Purohit, Ramesh Upadhyay and Swami A D Tirth. Nowhere the above statements of the witnesses in Court of Inquiry relied by accused number 9 show that he had provided them (his seniors in the Army) information about the actual discussion in the said meetings,” the court said. It further said the transcript and recording of the Faridabad meeting showed it was conducted under the leadership of Purohit and that he “was ready with homework on the topics discussed in the meeting”.
“There is no material to show that really the superior officers of accused number 9 had any idea about all the facts that is actual topics discussed in the meeting,” the court said. It said if the Army had decided to send their officer on duty to attend a meeting, then it would have been stated by the witnesses in Court of Inquiry by the superior officers.
The court also said the material does not show the accused had taken consent from his superiors for activities including controlling financial transaction of Abhinav Bharat Trust also used for arranging the meeting in Bhopal as well as to meet expenses of travelling to various places by the accused, including Purohit.
“It may be true that military intelligence do not work like other government agencies but it has to be ascertained whether official status of accused number 9 furnishes only the occasion or opportunity to him for doing all alleged acts against him or really he was doing his duty. Certainly someone out of the superior officers of the accused number 9 acquainted with all these facts should come forward and say that everything done by accused number 9 including opinions and thoughts expressed by him in the meetings were in discharge of his official duty,” it further said.