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Apex court gives interim bail to Malegaon Blast prime accused Col Purohit

Agencies: The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to Lt. Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, who spent nine years in prison in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case. The bench of Justice R K Agrawal and A M Sapre, while passing the order, said, “We set aside order of Bombay High Court.” The apex court further added that certain conditions will be imposed on Purohit while granting bail.

What is Malegaon blast case?

A blast took place on September 29, 2009 opposite Shakil Goods Transport Company. The explosives were concealed in a LML Freedom motorcycle. At least 4 people died, while 79 others were injured in the incident. In the initial investigation led by Maharashtra ATS, Sadhvi Pragya, Lt Colonel Shrikant Purohit, retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay were arrested in connection with the case.

Who is Shrikant Purohit?

Shrikant Purohit belonged to a middle class family from Maharashtra. His father worked as a bank officer. He completed his education from Abhinav Viyalaya and Garwara College from his birth town in Pune. Purohit was commissioned into Maratha Light Infantry in 1994 after he cleared out of the Officer’s Training Academy at Chennai. Between 2002-2005, he served in the counter-terrorism operations unit in Jammu and Kashmir. Later he was shifted to Military Intelligence due to health reasons.

How was he connected with the case?

The Lieutenant Colonel came in contact with another accused in the case, Ramesh Upadhyay, during his time in Maharashtra. Upadhyaya set up Abhnav Bharat, an extreme right wing group, which is believed to be behind the 2008 blasts and Purohit was reportedly associated with the group.

During the investigation after the blasts, police recovered some messages which were allegedly sent by Purohit to Upadhayay. He was later accused of stealing 60 kg of RDX from the army, to be used in Malegaon blast. He was also accused of funding and training Abhinav Bharat.

Shrikant Purohit was caught in “political crossfire”

Purohit told the Supreme Court on August 17, 2017, that he was caught in “political crossfire” and no charges against him were framed in nine years. He also accepted his association with Abhinav Bharat, and said he attended a few meetings, but only in the capacity of an army officer. He also said he passed on all information to his senior officers about group’s activities. “ATS in its chargesheet says that I attended meetings of Abhinav Bharat. Yes, I attended certain meetings, but as a military mole. I have been doing my duty. The court says that it will look into ATS chargesheet at the stage of trial and refuses interim bail even as charges are not framed against me. What kind of criminal justice system is this,” senior advocate Harish Salve, who spoke in the court on behalf of Purohit, said.

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