On Friday, the Bombay High Court accepted the intervention plea of the father of a victim in the 2008 Malegaon blast. The application was filed in response to a writ petition by ‘accused’ Lt. Col. Shrikant Prasad Purohit, questioning his prosecution in the bomb blast case without a valid sanction for the purpose.
A 2-Judge Division Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Justice MS Karnik had reserved the order on Wednesday, after listening to both the parties. Senior Advocate BA Desai representing petitioner Nisar Ahmed Haji Sayed Bilal had emphasised the right of his client to heard in the case. He informed that the petitioner was allowed to intervene in the same case in the trial court and also before the Supreme Court in other matters.
However, representing Lt. Col. Purohit, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi stated that his client had been framed in the case, just for doing his duty. Rohatgi stated, “He was infiltrating ‘these groups’ on behalf of the military intelligence branch and no prior sanction to prosecute Lt Col Purohit was sought before the cognizance of the offence was taken. After being released on bail he was reinstated in service. Whatever he was doing, he was simply discharging his duty.” Rohatgi added that gross injustice has been meted out to Lt. Col. Purohit.
Malegaon Bomb Blast case
A bomb blast took place at Bhiku Chowk in Malegaon on September 29, 2008. The incident injured several people and led to 6 fatalities. Lt. Col. Purohit, BJP MP Pragya Thakur, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahilkar and Sudhakar Chaturvedi and others were named as accused in the case. Four of the accused in the Malegaon blast case, namely, Lokesh Sharma, Dhan Singh, Rajendra Chaudhary and Manoj Narwariya, were granted bail by the Bombay High Court last year in June.
The National Investigative Agency (NIA) had informed the Bombay High Court that a day-to-day trial of the case will begin from December. As of now, 140 eyewitnesses have been examined out of 400. The trial was temporarily stalled, following the transfer of the presiding judge and because the new judge could not assume charge immediately owing to Coronavirus pandemic.
After spending nearly a decade in jail, without any charge sheet, Lt Col. Shrikant Prasad Purohit was finally granted bail in 2017. He was reinstated into his position in the Indian Army with a resounding welcome. Many reports and statements by former bureaucrats had pointed out that Lt Col Purohit was maliciously framed, with planted ‘evidence’ by the former UPA government to fan the imaginary ‘saffron terror’ narrative and distract the public from the scams of the Congress-led government.
The same bench of Bombay HC was slammed today by SC for refusing bail to Arnab Goswami
On Friday, the apex court questioned another decision of the same Division Bench of the Bombay High Court, comprising of justice SS Shinde and Justice MS Karnik. Slamming the Bombay High Court for its reluctance to grant bail to Arnab Goswami, the Supreme Court bench pointed out that the High Courts ought to take a final call on whether FIR should be quashed or not. The Bombay High Court abdicated its constitutional duty as protector of liberty by failing to take prima facie view of the FIR, the SC noted.
The apex court also observed that Bombay High Court has failed to do its duty by disabling itself from exercising its jurisdiction and added that the Bombay High Court should be circumspect in considering the facts of the case but should not close itself off when considering the denial of liberty of the citizen. The top court also said that the High Courts must exercise its power with caution.