Lt Col Prasad Shirkant Purohit, accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast, has moved the Bombay High Court challenging a special court’s order rejecting his plea against the sanction for his prosecution under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
A special NIA court had last week rejected the pleas filed by Purohit and other accused – Pragya Singh Thakur, retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Sudhakar Chaturvedi – challenging the validity of the anti-terror law in the case.
The court had said that on October 26, it would frame charges against the accused under the UAPA and relevant sections of the IPC. Purohit on Tuesday moved the high court against the lower court’s order and said it was “wrong” and “bad in law”.
His petition is likely to be taken up for hearing on Thursday by a division bench of the high court.
According to Purohit, the sanction to apply the UAPA provisions in the case was not granted in accordance with Section 45 of the Act, which says the sanctioning authority has to take into consideration the report and recommendation of an appropriate authority appointed by the government.
However, no such authority was appointed in January 2009 when the Maharashtra home department’s additional chief secretary had accorded sanction to apply the UAPA in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.
“The sanction is, therefore, vitiated and thus, there is no question of framing charges under provisions of the UAPA and there can be no trial for violation of these provisions,” Purohit’s lawyer Shrikant Shivade had argued in the lower court.
Six people were killed and nearly 100 injured when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque at Malegaon, a town in Maharashtra’s Nashik district, on September 29, 2008.
On December 27, 2017, the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court had dismissed the pleas filed by Purohit, his co-accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and six others seeking discharge from the case.
The court, however, gave them partial relief by dropping all charges against them under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act .