Malegaon blast: HC rejects bail of Lt Col Purohit

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 21:44

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday rejected
the bail plea of 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lt Colonel Prasad
Shrikant Purohit but allowed liberty to co-accused Ajay
Rahirkar on certain conditions.

"Lt Colonel Purohit was not just involved in talking
about Hindu rashtra, but is alleged to have been instrumental
in making RDX available," the judge observed while rejecting
his bail.
"Reliability of evidence about his bragging to a witness
that he had RDX in his possession and the evidence about
finding of RDX on a cotton swab would have to be decided at
trial. Therefore, he would not be entitled to bail," observed
Justice R C Chavan.

"As far as Ajay Rahirkar is concerned, firstly, there is
nothing in the conversation to show his involvement. Secondly,
all that he could be said to have done is financing purchase
of some arms and not any material used in the blasts at the
instance of Purohit from the funds of a trust. Hence, Rahirkar
would be entitled to bail," the judge held.

Rahirkar was ordered to be released on bail on his
furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with one or more
solvent sureties in the same amount.

The judge asked Rahirkar to scrupulously keep himself
away from all witnesses and report at the office of National
Investigating Agency or its representative in Mumbai once a
month on a convenient date to be fixed by the trial court till
the case is over.
Nisar Ahmed Haji Sayed Bilal, a Malegaon resident, had
intervened in the matter and opposed the bail plea of both the
accused.

Defence lawyer Srikant Shivade argued that there was no
direct evidence against the accused and hence they were
entitled to bail.

Prosecutor Rohini Salian argued that since conspiracy was
hatched in secrecy, such titbit`s of information as could be
gathered from deliberations at meetings of conspirators,
evidence about their movement and association with material or
articles used in the blast, traced backwards from seizure of
two wheeler which was found to have been used, could lead to
the inference of applicants involvement in conspiracy.

However, the judge felt that this would have to be tested
at trial.

Purohit`s counsel submitted that the accused was an army
officer involved in anti-terror operations and was working for
Military Intelligence. He produced some material to support
such a contention.

Relying on a Supreme Court judgement, the defence counsel
argued that it would not be proper to implicate a person
merely because of his communication with a person involved in
the offence.

He urged the court to consider that Purohit was a serving
army officer with a good record in jail for the last three
years. Hence, he should be given bail.

Purohit and Rahirkar were arrested and issued charge
sheet in connection with the Malegaon bomb blast that occurred
on September 29, 2008 and in which seven persons were killed.

Co-accused include sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Sudhakar
Dhar Dwivedi alias Shankaracharya and Rakesh Dhawade.

According to prosecution, the accused had formed an
organisation known as Abhinav Bharat Trust at Pune in 2006
with headquarters at the address of Rahirkar. It was
registered on February 9, 2007. They allegedly took an oath to
strive to turn India into a Hindu rashtra called Aryawart.

It was alleged that the members met from time to time to
discuss various aspects for achieving their goal. Accused
Shankaracharya is stated to have recorded conversations at the
meetings and these recordings are the foundation of the case
built up against the two applicants.

Approval for applying provisions of MCOCA in this case
was granted on November 20, 2008, and the applicants were
booked for offences under this stringent act.

Purohit and Rahirkar along with others were issued charge
sheet for offences under various enactments including MCOCA.
Both the applicants applied for bail before the special judge.
On July 31, 2009, the judge held that charges against them
under MCOCA did not survive and discharged them. He directed
that the case be placed before regular sessions court to try
them for other offences and therefore rejected their
applications for bail.

The state challenged the order discharging the accused
from offences under MCOCA before the high court. A division
bench partly allowed the applications on July 19, 2010 and
directed the special judge to decide the bail application
expeditiously.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 21:18

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