Malegaon case: SC refuses to consider Purohit's plea

SC asks Bombay HC to consider matter on September 21

Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit. File photo

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a plea, filed by 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, against the order by the Bombay High Court that refused to direct the NIA court to defer framing of charges.

A bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, however, allowed a contention by senior advocate Harish Salve that the high court should consider the matter coming up there on November 21.

"In view of submission, we are not inclined to entertain the petition, let the high court consider the matter," the bench, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph said.

Senior advocate Amrendra Sharan, representing a victim, pointed out that the trial court had already framed the charges against the accused.

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

He contended that the high court erred in ignoring the settled law that the absence of sanction prior to prosecution cannot be regarded as the 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.

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

In his petition, he said, he was per se a ‘nationalist’, but now being branded as a ‘terrorist’.

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 done many operations and had many accolades.

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 6 persons 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.

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Malegaon case: SC refuses to consider Purohit's plea

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