ATS threatened to eliminate me in encounter: Lt-Col Purohit

Prime accused in Malegaon blast case Lt Col Purohit on Friday made a written submission in a court alleging that Mumbai ATS threatened to eliminate him in an encounter.

Mumbai, Nov 21: Prime accused in Malegaon blast case Lt Col Srikant Prasad Purohit on Friday made a written submission in a court here alleging that Mumbai
ATS threatened to eliminate him in an encounter and tried to extract confession from him under duress.
Purohit, remanded in 14-day judicial custody by Magistrate G G Italekar in a 2003 case of alleged forgery in procuring an arms license for one Milind Date from Jammu & Kashmir, in Pune, sat in the court room to write his grievances after the judge asked him whether he had any complaints regarding his two-day police remand which expired today.

"I have no complaints against Pune police. But I want to submit in writing my grievances," he said. Purohit`s advocate Srikant Shivde told the court that the accused did not want to air his grievances in an open court and would prefer to put them in writing. The contents of Purohit`s written submission were informed by his lawyer to the media afterwards.

Shivde told mediapersons that in the written submission to the court, Purohit has given details of the "pressure and physical and mental torture" he was subjected to by Mumbai ATS which tried to "extract confession forcibly" from him in regard to involvement in the September 29 blast.

Purohit also complained of an "encounter" threat by ATS, the defence lawyer said.

Earlier, the prosecution made a plea for seven-day police custody of Purohit to unravel his connections in Jammu and Kashmir and further investigate whether he was part of a gang that procured illegal arms and forged licences from the military quota.

The defence counsel Shivde consented to three-day police custody. He also alleged his client would be framed in another case immediately after being taken to Nashik court and his police custody would continue till November 29 till he is produced before Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court in Mumbai.

All the ten accused arrested so far in the blast were yesterday booked under stringent law MCOCA.

"My client will be safer in police custody than in the ATS custody," he remarked.

The magistrate, however, rejected the prosecution demand for police custody and remanded Purohit to judicial custody. Purohit will now be taken to Nashik and put in the central prison there.

On a plea from the accused, the judge allowed him to carry medicines and some books along with him to Nashik. The defence counsel told the court that Purohit was vulnerable to attacks of asthma and needed certain medication in his possession.

Purohit`s wife Aparna, too, was present in the court.

Six persons were killed in the blast in the powerloom town in North Maharashtra`s Nashik district.

Purohit`s laptop gives no clues; tampering suspected

Investigations into the laptop of arrested Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, has shown that the Army officer apparently visited anti-Muslim websites frequently but revealed nothing incriminating.

The laptop, handed over by the Army after a week of Purohit`s arrest, was examined at a forensic laboratory during which, the probe agencies, claimed that he was often visiting anti-Muslim and jehadi websites, sources attached with the investigations said.

But, the investigators did not get details about the composition about the saffron outfit -- Abhinav Bharat -- whose cadres are alleged to be behind the blast in Malegaon on September 29 which they were looking for. This has raised questions whether the computer was tampered with, the sources said.

Questions were being raised by the sleuths as to why the laptop was removed by the Army authorities from Panchmari in Madhya Pradesh where Lt Col Purohit was undergoing language courses.

The Army was not forthcoming on this issue while some of its officials said that since Purohit was posted with Military Intelligence and there was a possibility that the laptop could have been scanned to look for any military secrets that could be detrimental to nation`s security.
Dayanand Pandey undergoes narco test

Dayanand Pandey, one of the accused in Malegaon blast case, underwent a narco analysis test at the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) here on Friday, FSL sources said.

Pandey was subjected to the narco analysis test for about four hours, the sources said to a news agency.

FSL is yet to decide whether to subject Pandey to other tests like polygraph and brain mapping, they said.

Pandey was brought to the city by Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in the morning and taken straight to FSL for the test under heavy security.

Ten persons, including Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Prasad Purohit, and sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, have been arrested so far for their alleged involvement in the September 29 Malegaon blast.

Two out of the ten accused--Purohit and Ramesh Upadhayay, were subjected to narco test here on November 10.

Arrested activist of Abhinav Bharat Sudhakar Chaturvedi was also subjected to narco test on November 18. Police were probing if he had any links with Malegoan blast accused.

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