Bombay HC dismisses discharge application filed by Lt Col Purohit in Malegaon blast case

Bombay High Court
Malegaon Blast Case
Image: PTI

Bombay High Court on Monday dismissed the discharge application filed by Lt Col Prasad Purohit in the Malegaon 2008 blast case.

He had filed this as an appeal against the Special National Investigation Case (NIA) court framing charges against him in the blast case.

High Court division bench has observed that Lt Col Purohit was not discharging duty as an officer of the Indian army while he was attending meetings of the Abhinav Bharat Group, as alleged by the NIA.

Purohit’s appeal was mainly based on his argument that there was a lack of sanction under section 197(2) of the CrPC from the Indian Army to prosecute him in the blast case because the charge framing was not valid against him, his plea argued. But NIA had confronted his sanction related argument in their reply.

“that Sanction was not required to prosecute Lt Col Prasad Purohit because he was not discharging his duty while he was attending those meetings,” NIA said in their reply The court accepted the NIA’s argument and dismissed Purohit’s appeal.

A bench of Justice AS Gadkari and Justice Prakash D Naik of the Bombay High Court passed orders today.

On August 1, the Supreme Court asked the Bombay High Court to decide expeditiously the plea of Lt Col Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, regarding the prior sanction for his prosecution.

Purohit had said that the sanction granted by the government to prosecute him in the case, was wrong in law.

A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Justice Vikram Nath asked the High Court to decide the plea of Purohit pending already for quashing the sanction for his prosecution in the case.

“The writ petition filed by the petitioner bearing Writ Petition is pending consideration before the High Court wherein the petitioner has sought quashing of the sanction under Section 197(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case, we deem it appropriate to request the High Court to take up the said writ petition and decide the same expeditiously in accordance with the law. The writ petition is disposed of in above terms,” the bench in its order stated.

Purohit had moved the High Court with his plea challenging the validity of the sanction granted by the government to prosecute him under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in the case. A prior sanction for Purohit’s prosecution was required since he was a serving Army officer at the time.

Earlier, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court had dismissed his plea to discharge him from the case.

In the 2008 Malegaon blast case, six people were killed and over 100 injured after an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque at Malegaon in north Maharashtra, about 200 kilometers from Mumbai.

All the seven accused in the case are currently out on bail. BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur, Sameer Kulkarni, retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Ajay Rahilkar, and Sudhakar Chaturvedi are the other accused in the case.