THE Bombay High Court Monday continued hearing arguments for the bail of 2008 Malegaon blasts accused Col. Prasad Purohit. Purohit’s lawyer Shrikant Shivde said the sanction for his prosecution obtained under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) was defective. “Proper procedures were not followed for prosecution sanction. As per law, an independent officer is to be appointed by the Centre or state to conduct an independent review before sending it for sanction. But this step was bypassed,” said Shivde to a division bench of Justice R V More and Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi.
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Purohit was arrested in November 2008 for allegedly procuring RDX to carry out the blast and hatching the conspiracy. His bail has been rejected several times since his arrest. Shivde stated that Purohit was not involved in a terrorist act. “The evidence does not suggest him having planted any explosive or having spoken about the blast in any of the meetings which he attended.”
The lawyer had earlier pointed to the court that UAPA was extensively amended in December 2008 and the amendments imposed restrictions to apply for bail, but Purohit had been arrested and applied for bail before that, and it should not be applied retrospectively.
“Purohit has served eight years in jail, which means he has served minimum punishment for his offences. This is a rare case in which none of the accused have criminal antecedents and both the NIA and ATS chargesheets have contradictory statements, a reasonable ground to grant bail to the accused,” he said. Arguments will continue on February 1.