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[2008 Malegaon Blast] "He Was Simply Discharging His Duty": Sr Adv Mukul Rohatgi Argues Lt Col Prasad Purohit's Petition

Nitish Kashyap
4 Sep 2020 2:48 PM GMT
[2008 Malegaon Blast] He Was Simply Discharging His Duty: Sr Adv Mukul Rohatgi Argues Lt Col Prasad Purohits Petition
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The Bombay High Court on Friday heard a fresh writ petition filed by 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lt Colonel Prasad Purohit under Section 197 of CrPC challenging the sanction granted to to prosecute him in the case where a bomb explosion at Bhiku Chowk in Malegaon, Maharashtra killed six people and injured over a hundred. Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared on behalf of Lt Col...

The Bombay High Court on Friday heard a fresh writ petition filed by 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lt Colonel Prasad Purohit under Section 197 of CrPC challenging the sanction granted to to prosecute him in the case where a bomb explosion at Bhiku Chowk in Malegaon, Maharashtra killed six people and injured over a hundred.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared on behalf of Lt Col Purohit along with Advocate Neela Gokhale before the bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice MS Karnik via video conferencing. He submitted -

"Gross injustice has been done to my client, the petitioner, being an officer of military intelligence. He was framed in this case and after spending eight years in jail he was released by the Supreme Court.

He was infiltrating 'these groups' on behalf of the military intelligence branch and no prior sanction to prosecute Lt Col Purohit was taken before the cognizance of offence was taken. After being released on bail he was reinstated in service. Whatever he was doing, he was simply discharging his duty."

NIA's counsel Sandesh Patil tried to intervene at the beginning of the hearing but Justice Shinde asked him to allow Sr Adv Rohatgi to speak. After Rohatgi concluded his submission, Adv Patil contended that two other accused in the case have filed petitions before the High Court that are pending which can also be tagged along with this matter.

The former Attorney General objected to this and said none of the other accused are army officers. Thereafter, Advocate Patil argued that Purohit's petition is not maintainable and by no stretch of imagination the act committed by him can be termed as official duty.

NIA has already filed an affidavit-in-reply to the petition and forwarded a copy to the petitioner's advocate.

Court accepted Sr Adv Rohatgi's contention and did not tag the matter with any other. The next date of hearing is on September 23, 2020.

Mukul Rohatgi had previously appeared on behalf of Lt Col Purohit in his plea challenging sanction to prosecute under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The sanction to prosecute Lt Col Purohit was granted on January 17, 2009 by the then Maharashtra government.

On September 29, 2008, a bomb explosion took place at Bhiku Chowk, Malegaon, Maharashtra, killing six people and injuring over a hundred. Apart from Sameer Kulkarni, BJP MP from Bhopal Pragya Thakur, Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit, Major (Retd.) Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Ajay Rahilkar and Sudhakar Chaturvedi are accused in the case and have been charged with murder, abetment and conspiracy for the blast.

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