Causing Bomb Blast not an Official Duty, Says Bombay HC on Malegaon Accused’s Plea

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MUMBAI – The Bombay High Court on Monday dismissed an appeal filed by Malegaon 2008 bomb blast prime accused Lt Col Prasad S. Purohit, seeking his discharge from the case, observing that carrying out a bomb blast which killed 6 people and injured over 100 was not part of his official duty.

A division bench of Justice A.S. Gadkari and Justice Prakash D. Naik also upheld the verdict of a lower court and rejected Purohit’s claim that a sanction was required to prosecute him in the case.

“Even otherwise, indulging into an activity of a bomb explosion causing the death of six persons is not an act done by the appellant in his official duty. It has nothing to do or related in any manner with the discharge of the official duty… there is no reasonable connection between the offence alleged and his official duty and was not committed in discharge of his official duty,” the bench observed.

Granted bail in August 2017 by the Supreme Court, Purohit had contended that he was merely performing his official duty and gathering information regarding the ‘Abhinav Bharat’ to which the court asked why he did not avert the bomb blast in the civilian locality of Malegaon.

Purohit was arrested in 2008 under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other offences, in the sensational case that has other accused like Bharatiya Janata Party MP Pragya Singh Thakur and five others, after which the term ‘Hindu terror’ was coined.

Among other points, Purohit argued that there was no sanction from the Indian Army to prosecute him and sought a discharge, but the National Investigation Agency said no sanction was required since his actions were not in discharge of his official duties.

The case involved an explosion triggered by a bomb placed in a scooter that belonged to Thakur in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, and though being an army officer, Purohit had floated the Abhinav Bharat in 2007 with the aim to make India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’.

The NIA charge sheet said that “they wanted to form a government in exile, they were dissatisfied with the Constitution of India and had wanted to prepare their own Constitution”, they had discussed a bomb blast in one of their meetings and Purohit was responsible for arranging the RDX from Kashmir.

The high court upheld the Special NIA court’s order of December 2017, rejecting Purohit’s plea to discharge him from the Malegaon 2008 blast case, owing to lack of sanction as he was a public servant.

“The trial court has not committed any error while taking cognisance of the offence alleged against (Purohit) and rejected his application for discharge on that ground,” the bench ruled.

Earlier, Thakur and another co-accused Sameer Kulkarni, who had sought discharge from the case, had withdrawn their applications, and though Purohit had withdrawn other petitions, he pursued the discharge plea based on lack of sanction.

Purohit was charged with murder, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, etc, voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons, criminal conspiracy, under various sections of the UAPA, the Arms Act and the Indian Explosive Substances Act. -IANS

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