Sameer Kulkarni, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, was on Wednesday provided an armed police guard for protection at his residence in Maharashtra's Pune district.
Kulkarni, who is currently out on bail, told PTI that he wrote to the state government in May this year seeking protection, but he might have been provided the security now in the wake of the killing of former Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari in Lucknow.
"Except a letter acknowledging that my application has been received, I did not receive any communication from the state government after I sought protection," said Kulkarni, who resides in Pune's Chinchwad area.
However, on Tuesday he got a call from the Pimpri Chinchwad police, informing that an armed guard of constable rank was assigned to him, he said. "I did seek protection then (in May)...the security might have provided now in the wake of Tiwari's killing," he said.
Tiwari, who was earlier associated with a faction of the Hindu Mahasabha, was killed at his home in Naka Hindola area of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh on 18 October. Kulkrani, who was released on bail in 2017, said he might have been given protection since he is an accused in a sensitive case.
He said while seeking security, he had categorically told the government he would not be able to bear the police protection expenses, and that the government will have to bear the cost.
However, later in the evening, Kulkrani said he was told he will have to pay for the security from his own pocket.
"Today evening when I went to the Special Branch, I was handed a letter informing the security is for one month and it was paid and officials concerned were instructed to recover the amount," he said.
Kulkarni said when he was told about security being provided to him on Tuesday, there was no mention that it was going to be a paid one.
"Upon receiving the letter, I gave an application to the police requesting them to provide security without any charges as I am not in a position to bear the expenses," he said.
The blast accused also said he paid the fees for today (Wednesday.)
Sudhir Hiremath, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Branch), Pimpri Chinchwad police, said on the basis of Kulkarni's application, he was given paid security for one month considering the threat perception.
On his latest application that he should be given the protection free of charge, he said a decision on his plea will be taken on Thursday.
Kulkarni said BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col Prasad Purohit, who are also accused in the Malegaon blast case, have also been provided security.
Six people were killed and nearly 100 others injured when a bomb strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon town of Maharashtra's Nashik district on 29 September, 2008.
The trial in the case began in October last year after a special court in Mumbai framed charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Lt Col Prasad Purohit, Thakur and others.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Updated Date: Oct 31, 2019 08:23:04 IST