The Bombay High Court on Friday admitted Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit’s plea urging that he be discharged in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, reported PTI. His plea challenges the previous judgements of the High Court and a special trial court.
On December 18, the High Court refused to quash a government sanction allowing Purohit’s prosecution in the case. Nine days later, a special National Investigation Agency court also dismissed his plea. The Supreme Court granted Purohit conditional bail in August.
Prior sanction is needed to prosecute Purohit as he was a serving Army officer at the time of the incident. The additional chief secretary of the Maharashtra Home Department had issued the sanction on January 17, 2009.
Purohit’s lawyer Shrikant Shivde argued that according to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the judiciary department has to form an appropriate authority and seek its report before issuing such a sanction. He added that the authority was appointed only in October 2010, almost one-and-a-half years after the sanction was issued.
Justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai said they would hear Purohit’s arguments from July 16.
Six people were killed and several were injured in two blasts in Maharashtra’s Malegaon on September 29, 2008. Radical Hindutva outfit Abhinav Bharat was suspected to have carried out the attacks. The Anti-Terrorism Squad filed a chargesheet against 14 suspected Right-wing extremists in the case.
The Bombay High Court granted relief to another accused in the case, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, in April 2017, but said that the charges against Purohit were of grave nature. Both Purohit and Pragya were arrested in 2008 for allegedly masterminding the explosions.