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Malegaon blast case: Supreme Court reserves order on accused Colonel Shrikant Purohit's bail plea

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on the bail of former Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, one of the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. A bench of Justices RK Agrawal and AM Sapre said it will pass an order on the plea.

Appearing for Purohit, senior advocate Harish Salve said he has been in jail for the past nine years but charges have still not been framed against him. Salve said the MCOCA charge against him has already been dropped and pleaded in the apex court to grant the accused interim bail "for interest of justice", ANI reported.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for National Investigation Agency (NIA), said there was some evidence against Purohit which would help in framing of charge. Opposing the bail of Purohit, NIA argued that the Bombay High court order should be upheld by the apex court.

Purohit informed the Supreme Court that he was caught in political crossfire and he was falsely implicated by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in the 2008 case. According to Times Now, Salve also argued in the top court how witnesses termed unreliable could now be relied upon.

With regard to the plea seeking cancellation of bail of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, the top court posted the matter for hearing on 10 October.

Purohit had moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court's order dismissing his bail plea. On 14 August, a bench of Justice RK Agrawal and Justice MM Shantanagoudar had observed that the issue of granting bail to Purohit and cancellation of bail of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, also accused in the case, needed detailed consideration.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The NIA had filed its reply in the case of Purohit, saying there was ample evidence against him, but no evidence against Thakur. Thakur was granted bail by the Bombay High Court, which, however, had refused a similar relief to Purohit.

The apex court had on 5 May also sought a response from the NIA and the Maharashtra government on the plea of Purohit seeking bail.

On 29 September, 2008, even people were killed in a bomb blast at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nasik district of north Maharashtra.

A special MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) court had earlier ruled that the ATS had wrongly applied this law against Thakur, Purohit and nine others. The 4,000-page charge sheet had alleged that Malegaon was selected as the blast target because of its sizeable Muslim population.

Thakur, Purohit and co-accused, Swami Dayanand Pandey were named as the key conspirators. The charge sheet had alleged Pandey had instructed Purohit to arrange explosive RDX, while Thakur owned the motorcycle which was used in the blast.

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Aug 17, 2017 13:32 PM

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