The Bombay High Court today dismissed petitions filed by Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit and Sameer Kulkarni, accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, challenging the sanction for prosecution granted by the Maharashtra government under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The petitions said that under the UAPA, the state law and judiciary department, the sanctioning authority, has to seek a report from an appropriate authority.
“In this case, the sanction was given in January 2009 but the authority was appointed only in October 2010. Hence the sanction order stands vitiated,” Purohit’s lawyer Shrikant Shivade had argued.
NIA counsel Sandesh Patil, however, questioned the maintainability of the petitions. Purohit and Kulkarni had raised these contentions in the trial court in discharge pleas, and that court has reserved its order till December 21, Patil pointed out.
“The issue of sanction was raised by Purohit when his bail plea was being argued in the high court. In its order, the high court has extensively observed that the issue of sanction cannot be looked into at this stage and can be considered by the trial court,” advocate Patil said.
Even the Supreme Court made the same observations in its order, though it granted bail to Purohit, he said.
The high court today accepted the NIA lawyer’s arguments and dismissed the petitions.
“The question is should we hear the petitions in the light of the observations made by the Supreme Court and the high court,” Justice Patil said.
Six persons were killed and nearly 100 injured when a bomb strapped to a motorcycle exploded in Malegaon town in Nashik district of Maharashtra on September 29, 2008. Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Purohit were arrested in the same year with nine others for the blast conspiracy.
The NIA, which took over the probe from the Maharashtra ATS, gave a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya. The agency had, however, opposed Purohit’s bail plea.