Lt Col Purohit moves SC, says he's nationalist

Lt Col Purohit moves SC, says he's nationalist

2008 Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit

Army officer and 2008 Malegaon blast accused, Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, on Thursday claimed before the Supreme Court that he was per se a ‘nationalist’ but being branded a ‘terrorist’.

The officer challenged in the top court the orders passed by the Bombay High Court refusing to direct the NIA court to defer framing of charges against him in view of the absence of “valid sanction” for prosecution.

He contended the Army has also admitted in writing that he was attending certain meetings, which are alleged to be conspiracy meetings, in pursuance of the discharge of his duty and was keeping his superiors informed. He also said that he was an Army Officer in the Intelligence Corps. He has taken part in many operations and has many accolades.

Purohit contended that the high court erred in ignoring the settled law that the absence of sanction prior to prosecution cannot be regarded as a mere technical defect and can be raised at any stage of the proceedings before taking cognisance.

“The entire prosecution is vitiated because of non-compliance of mandatory provision of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and (Recommendation and Sanction of Prosecution) Rules 2008. The record clearly shows that the provision of sec 45(2), which is an important safeguard against misuse of stringent Act, has been deliberately bypassed by the ATS,” his petition filed by advocate Neela Gokhale stated.

Seeks stay

Purohit is an accused in the Navratri-eve September 29, 2008 blast at Bhikku Chowk in the communally-sensitive powerloom town of Malegaon in Nashik district, in which six people were killed and 101 others were injured. After being in jail for nine years, he was granted bail by the Supreme Court on August 22, 2017. He is now attached to the Colaba Military Station in Mumbai.

He sought immediate stay of the high court's order of October 30. The NIA court had on October 20 dismissed the issue of valid sanction, saying it would be considered during the trial.