Malegaon case: HC admits Purohit's plea challenging rejection

India

22 Jun 2018

Bombay-HC admits Malegaon blast accused Purohit's plea challenging discharge rejection

The Bombay HC today admitted a plea filed by Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, challenging previous judgments of the HC and a special trial court that had rejected his discharge from the case.

On December 18, 2017, the HC had refused to quash a government sanction that permitted Purohit's prosecution in the blast case.

Here's more

Malegaon blast story

Six persons were killed and over a 100 were injured when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon in Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008. Purohit and his co-accused are still facing charges under the UAPA and IPC provisions.

SC directions

Purohit approached SC after getting rejected from HC, NIA court

Purohit approached SC after getting rejected from HC, NIA court

Earlier on December 27, 2017, a special National Investigation Agency court had dismissed his plea to discharge him from the case.

Purohit then approached the Supreme Court, and based on the apex court's directions, approached the HC again earlier this year arguing that the sanction granted by the government to prosecute him in the case, was wrong in law.

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Prior sanction

A prior sanction was issued for Purohit in Jan 2009

A prior sanction required for Purohit's prosecution since he was a serving Army officer at the time, was issued on January 17, 2009, by Additional Chief Secretary of the Maharashtra Home Department.

Purohit's lawyer Shrikant Shivde, however, has maintained that under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the state law and judiciary department has to constitute an appropriate authority and seek its report first.

Invalid sanction

Sanction issued in 2009 but authority appointed in 2010

Sanction issued in 2009 but authority appointed in 2010

Shivde argued that the sanction was given in Jan'09 but the authority was appointed only in Oct'10.

Thus, the sanction was not valid under the UAPA provisions and hence, courts couldn't have taken cognizance of the charges against him.

In the hearing conducted today, a bench of Justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai, said arguments over sanction will be heard from July 16, 2018.

NIA

NIA told Purohit to seek a fresh plea before it

Last year in December, the NIA, which is also the prosecution in the case, had dismissed pleas filed by Purohit and other accused, seeking that they be discharged from the case.

NIA counsel, advocate Sandesh Patil, had argued that as per procedure, Purohit must file a fresh plea before the special court seeking discharge on the point of sanction.

The Trial

Court suggests NIA to refrain from trial until sanction-issue solved

The HC bench suggested that the NIA refrain from proceeding with the trial until the issue of sanction vide Purohit's plea was decided by the HC.

Patil, however, told the bench today that while the special NIA court had scheduled the framing of charges in the case for today, it was unlikely that the same would happen since the NIA court wasn't "ready yet".

NIA had dropped all charges against the accused

The NIA court after dismissing Purohit's plea, had, however, given them partial relief by dropping all charges against them under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA)

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Bombay High Court

Malegaon Blast

National Investigation Agency (NIA)

Additional Chief Secretary

Anuja Prabhudessai

Bombay HC

HC

IPC

Justices Ranjit More

Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit

Maharashtra Control

Maharashtra Home Department

Malegaon

National Investigation Agency

NIA

Organized Crime Act

Sandesh Patil

SC

Shrikant Shivde

Supreme Court

UAPA

Unlawful Activities

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