In a big development in 2008 Malegaon blast case, the Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to Lt Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit. While granting the conditional bail to Lt Col Purohit, the Supreme Court said, “We set aside the order of Bombay High court.” The Lt Colonel had moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court’s order dismissing his bail plea.
Earlier, on August 14, the apex court had said the issue of granting bail to former Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit and cancellation of bail of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, both accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, needed detailed consideration. A bench of Justices R K Agrawal and M M Shantanagoudar had listed the case for hearing on August 17, saying this matter requires lengthy hearing as both the pleas are on similar facts.
The National Investigating Agency (NIA) had filed its reply in the case of Purohit, saying there was ample evidence against him, but no evidence against Thakur. The apex court had on May 5 also sought a response from the NIA and the Maharashtra government on the plea of Purohit seeking bail.
Malegaon blast case
Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nasik district of north Maharashtra.
A special MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) court had earlier ruled that the Anti-Terrorist Squad had wrongly applied this law against Thakur, Purohit and nine others.
The 4,000-page charge sheet had alleged that Malegaon was selected as the blast target because of a sizeable Muslim population there. It had named Thakur, Purohit and co-accused, Swami Dayanand Pandey as the key conspirators. The charge sheet had alleged it was Pandey who had instructed Purohit to arrange explosive RDX, while Thakur owned the motorcycle which was used in the blast. Ajay Rahirkar, another accused, allegedly organised funds for the terror act, while conspiracy meetings were held at Bhonsala Military School in Nasik, charge sheet had claimed.
Rakesh Dhawde, Ramesh Upadhyay, Shyamlal Sahu, Shivnarain Kalsangra, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Jagdish Mhatre and Sameer Kulkarni were the other accused.