2008 Malegaon Bomb Blasts
During the hearing of an appeal against a lower court order rejecting his bail, former Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit makes serious allegations against the State Anti-Terrorism Squad and seeks to be released on bail
Making some serious allegations against the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), former Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, who has been arrested in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts case, on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that ATS has fabricated evidence against him in the case.
This comes a week after the Ministry of Defence had approached the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court to maintain the secrecy of documents provided to Purohit. Last week, a representative from the ministry wrote to the court, seeking secrecy of the 'sensitive' documents, including those pertaining to the Court of Inquiry proceedings carried out by the Army, and urged the court to not reveal them to any third party, including other accused.
Purohit had referred to the documents for the first time in September while arguing for his bail before Special Judge S.D. Tekale. The court, while rejecting his bail, had accepted the prosecution's submission of not referring to the documents at an earlier stage. A military intelligence officer, Purohit had written to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar last year from Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai, where he is lodged, seeking copies of certain portions of the inquiry.
During the hearing of an appeal filed by Purohit before the division bench of Justice R. V. More and Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi at the Bombay High Court, advocate Shrikant Shivade representing Purohit in the case argued that the officers of ATS had planted false and fabricated evidence against Purohit. “Our contention is very clearly proved from the charge sheet filed by NIA. Purohit was taken in custody from the Indian Army on October 29, 2008.
He was illegally detained and tortured by ATS. On November 3, 2008, ATS officers planted RDX in a room and claimed Purohit had revealed about this room during interrogation. It should be noted that even the NIA disagreed with the ATS probe. It should also be noted that several witnesses, when questioned by NIA, had said that the ATS had forced them into giving false statements. Also there are two contradictory statements of the same witnesses, one to the ATS and the other to NIA. Purohit's custody is not required at this moment,” advocate Shivade told the court.
He further argued, “It is a well known fact that the ATS frames innocent persons and plants evidence against them. The court should also note the fact that the CBI has filed FIR against few ATS officers in this case for their involvement in the missing of one witness Dilip Patidar. So we say that the ATS has fabricated evidence against Purohit in the case.”
Former ATS Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit was arrested on November 5, 2008 for his alleged involvement in the conspiracy that was hatched by right-wing groups between January and September 2008, to carry out blasts in the Muslim-dominated Malegaon city. While the probe was handled by Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), it was later transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which dropped the stringent provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) from the case and also gave a clean chit to some of the accused, including the main accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh.