Malegaon bomb blast: Special court rejects Lt Col Purohit's bail plea

The scene of the blast site is pictured in Malegaon, some 175 miles (280 kilometres) northeast of India's financial hub Mumbai on September 30, 2008. Photograph:( AFP )

New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 26, 2016, 02.45 PM (IST)
A special court today rejected the bail plea of Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, one of the 12 accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, at a hearing in India’s western Mumbai city.

Special judge S D Tekale passed the order in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) special court, Indian news agency PTI reported. 

Purohit had appealed for the bail contending that the NIA had dropped the charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the case and that he was in the jail for the last seven years without trial, according to the news agency. He insisted that he had no role in the blast. 

The NIA, however, had objected to his bail plea saying that these arguments should be taken into consideration during the trial and not at this stage, the prosecution had said. There was enough evidence against Purohit, it added. 

While filing the bail plea, Purohit had earlier claimed that the Abhinav Bharat Trust, that the NIA claimed was used to procure the weapons and explosives used for the blast, was formed keeping senior army officers in the loop and was to be registered as a political party, according to ANI news agency. 

NIA, on the other hand, had claimed in its chargesheet that Purohit  had flouted rules of the service by forming the outfit in the year 2006 despite being an army man, according to ANI. 

The investigating agency said Purohit and the other accused collected funds for the outfit to buy weapons.

However, Purohit had reportedly said in his bail plea that he was acting in discharge of his duty to gather more intelligence.

"The circumstances show Abhinav Bharat was to become a political party and even a registration form for the same was found through the sources of the accused," reads the bail plea.

Lt Col Purohit is one among the 12 alleged ‘Hindu extremists’ named in the chargesheet by the state's anti-terrorism squad (ATS), apart from key accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a hardline Hindu leader. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)