Arguing for suspended Lt Col Prasad Purohit’s bail in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, his counsel said on Tuesday that the army officer had stopped terrorist infiltration in 2001 when he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir in the 15th battalion of Maratha Light Infantry.
“He has fabulous antecedents. It is the most meritorious record this court has ever come across,” said Purohit’s lawyer Shrikant Shivde, who filed the first bail application on Tuesday before the court, which has been tasked with conducting daily hearings on bail pleas. Purohit has been charged with hatching the conspiracy which led to the death of four persons.
Shivde said that on January 23, 2001, Purohit engaged in a gun battle and chased away five “anti-national elements” in J&K’s Uri Sector at the Line of Control and recovered arms and RDX.
Shivde said that Purohit had received intelligence inputs that five “anti-national elements” would try to cross the LoC. “At 22.20 hours, he heard a sound and illuminated the area. The terrorists opened automatic fire and fled. He returned small arms fire… they left some material behind,” Shivde told the court.
Shivde then rejected the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad’s (ATS) charge that Purohit carried the seized RDX to each of his subsequent postings. “Luggage is searched during transport. It is not an off-the-shelf drug available to the army,” he argued.
Shivde went on to allege that the ATS planted the RDX at Purohit’s quarters in Deolali army camp in Nashik, when he was arrested in 2008. “An ATS sub-inspector was caught by military police for trespassing on November 3, 2008. He pleaded with them to let him go. After 20 days, the sub-inspector goes to the same room, takes a swab of the floor and says RDX was found there,” Shivde said.
Shivde said that on September 29, 2008, when the blasts took place, Purohit was at an army base in Panchmarhi, Madhya Pradesh and “nowhere near Nashik”. He also pulled up the ATS and the NIA for carrying out parallel probes into the blast.