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Malegaon blast: Special NIA court rejects Lt Col Purohit’s bail plea

The court ruled that witnesses’ statements re-recorded by the NIA, in which they alleged that the ATS had forced them to give statements against the accused, including Purohit, would be considered during the trial.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
September 27, 2016 12:00:55 am
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A SPECIAL NIA court on Monday rejected the bail plea of 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Prasad Purohit. Named as one of the key conspirator by the NIA, Purohit had sought bail after the probe agency filed a supplementary chargesheet in May, recommending dropping of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) charges against him. He has been behind bars since his arrest in 2008.

The court ruled that witness statements re-recorded by the NIA in which they alleged that the ATS had forced them to give statements against the accused, including Purohit, would be considered during the trial.

Earlier, the NIA had stated that there was a ‘shortcoming in the evidence against him’ but that it was sufficient to prosecute him.

During the bail proceedings held in-camera before special Judge SD Tekale on Monday, Purohit for the first time referred to documents from the Court of Inquiry conducted by the Army to back his claim that he was working with Abhinav Bharat organisation and that he had kept his seniors in the loop about his activities. “The court has held that the Court of Inquiry documents cannot be looked at this stage while considering his bail,” said special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal.

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With reference to the NIA chargesheet, which has a witness statement claiming an ATS officer was seen ‘suspiciously’ in the house of accused Sudhakar Chaturvedi, from where RDX was recovered as per the ATS case, the court has said it would be considering it during the examination of the officer, Rasal said. The ATS had claimed that Purohit had procured RDX to carry out the blast.

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Further, on Purohit’s plea citing delay in the trial to seek bail, the court ruled that the trial had been expedited by the Supreme Court and that a special court was appointed to conduct the trial. The court is at the stage of framing charges against the accused. “Considering all these facts, as well as peculiar circumstances of the case, nature and gravity of the offence coupled with restrictions imposed by provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), he was not entitled to be granted bail on this ground,” the judge said.

Purohit had also claimed that he had been illegally detained between October 29 and November 5, 2008. He stated that though the ATS record showed that he was arrested on November 5, he had been abducted by a military personnel and kept in an unknown place, in collusion with the ATS. The court said a similar ground was put forth by co-accused Sameer Kulkarni before the Bombay High Court, but that too was not considered as a ground for Kulkarni’s release on bail.

At the court, Aparna Purohit, the wife of the Lieutenant Colonel, said they were hopeful of bail and would consider further options after going through the order copy. The court had earlier rejected the bail plea filed by accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur despite a clean chit by the NIA.

Meanwhile, another accused, Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi, has also filed for bail before the special court.

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