Bombay HC dismisses application filed by Lt Col Purohit in Malegaon blast case

2 January, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

bombay high court 850238 03OervHL National

Lt Col Prasad Purohit's discharge motion in the Malegaon 2008 bomb case was denied by the Bombay High Court on Monday.

Lt Col Prasad Purohit’s discharge motion in the Malegaon 2008 bomb case was denied by the Bombay High Court on Monday.

He submitted this as an appeal against the Special National Investigation Case (NIA) court, which had charged him in the explosion case. According to the High Court division bench, Lt Col Purohit was not performing his duties as an officer of the Indian army while attending meetings of the Abhinav Bharat Group, as the NIA claimed.

Purohit’s appeal was primarily based on his contention that the Indian Army lacked authority under section 197(2) of the CrPC to prosecute him in the bomb case since the charge wording was invalid.

But NIA had confronted his sanction related argument in their reply.
“that Sanction was not required to prosecute Lt Col Prasad Purohit because he was not discharging his duty while he was attending those meetings,” NIA said in their reply.

The court accepted the NIA’s argument and dismissed Purohit’s appeal. A bench of Justice AS Gadkari and Justice Prakash D Naik of the Bombay High Court passed orders today.

On August 1, the Supreme Court directed the Bombay High Court to rule quickly on Lt Col Prasad Purohit’s request for prior sanction for his prosecution in the 2008 Malegaon bomb case.

Purohit had stated that the government’s decision to pursue him in the case was illegal under the law.

A panel of Justices Hemant Gupta and Vikram Nath urged the High Court to hear Purohit’s ongoing petition to revoke the sanction for his prosecution in the matter.

“The writ petition filed by the petitioner bearing Writ Petition is pending consideration before the High Court wherein the petitioner has sought quashing of the sanction under Section 197(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case, we deem it appropriate to request the High Court to take up the said writ petition and decide the same expeditiously in accordance with the law. The writ petition is disposed of in above terms,” the bench in its order stated.

Purohit had petitioned the High Court, questioning the legality of the government’s authorisation to prosecute him under the harsh Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in the case.

Purohit’s prosecution required prior approval because he was a serving Army officer at the time.

Previously, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court denied his request to be released from the case.

Six people were killed and nearly 100 were injured in the 2008 Malegaon blast after an explosive device mounted to a motorcycle exploded near a mosque in Malegaon, Maharashtra, roughly 200 kilometres north of Mumbai. All seven defendants in the case are presently free on bail.

BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur, Sameer Kulkarni, retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Ajay Rahilkar and Sudhakar Chaturvedi are the other accused in the case.