Wednesday, April 21

Malegaon blast victim’s father allowed to contest Lt Col Purohit’s plea


The Bombay high court on Friday allowed Nisar Ahmed Haji Sayyed Bilal, father of a 2008 Malegaon bomb blast victim to intervene in and oppose the petition filed by Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit questioning his prosecution in the bomb blast case without a valid sanction for the purpose.

A division bench of justice SS Shinde and justice MS Karnik on Friday allowed Bilal’s intervention application.

Bilal lost his son in the powerful blast outside a shrine in Malegaon on September 29, 2008. In all, six persons were killed and 101 others were injured in the blast.

On October 23, 2008, Maharashtra anti-terrorists squad made its first arrests in the case by apprehending Sadhvi and two of her associates. On January 20, 2009, the agency filed a charge-sheet in the case after completing its investigation. Two months later, on April 1, 2011, the case was transferred to the NIA.

Purohit has moved the HC claiming that he was being prosecuted for actions while discharging his duty as an army officer, but there was no proper sanction to prosecute him, as mandated under provisions of the criminal procedure code.

Purohit’s counsel claims that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had failed to get a prior sanction under section 197 of the CrPC to prosecute him and therefore it was illegal. During the first hearing of Purohit’s plea, his counsel and former attorney general, Mukul Rohtagi, had told the bench that Purohit had been working for the Indian Army’s military intelligence unit.

He said Purohit had attended conspiracy meetings before the 2008 Malegaon blast as part of “discharging his duties” as a military intelligence officer.

Bilal had filed an application seeking to intervene and oppose Purohit’s plea. It was, however, strenuously opposed by Purohit’s counsel, advocate Neela Gokhale. She pointed out that Bilal’s intervention in this matter was completely unwarranted as HC was only required to examine whether there is a valid sanction to prosecute Purohit in the case.

Bilal’s counsel had argued that he had a right to be heard since he was not only an “aggrieved party” but also an intervening party in the trial in the case pending hearing before a special NIA court in Mumbai.

HC, however, accepted Bilal’s contentions and allowed him to intervene in this petition.