The Supreme Court on Monday granted conditional bail to 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit, setting aside an earlier Bombay High Court judgment. The bench of justices RK Agrawal and AM Sapre had reserved its order on his interim bail plea on August 17, after the National Investigation Agency opposed it.
Purohit was represented by senior advocate Harish Salve. The former military intelligence officer had been in prison for the past nine years.
The accused had moved the apex court on April 28, days after the Bombay High Court rejected his bail plea. The High Court had granted relief to another accused in the case, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, but said that the charges against Purohit were of grave nature.
Both Purohit and Pragya were arrested in 2008 on charges of plotting the explosions carried out by radical Hindutva group Abhinav Bharat. On September 29, 2008, two blasts in Malegaon, Maharashtra, had killed at least six people and injured several others. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad had filed a chargesheet against 14 right-wing extremists, including Purohit and Thakur, in the case.
In May, Purohit’s lawyer had told the Supreme Court that his client was considered one of the best counter-insurgency officers and that he was framed in this case. Purohit was charged with conspiring to carry out the blasts and procuring materials to create the explosives used in the incident.
Another prime accused in the case, Ram Kalsangra, is still absconding.