NEW DELHI: The Indian Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.
According to Indian media reports, Purohit had moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court’s order dismissing his bail plea. He has spent nine years behind bars after being arrested in 2008. He told the SC that he was acting as army mole and was not involved in terrorist activity.
A bench of Justices R K Agrawal and A M Sapre passed the order on the plea, having reserved its order last week.
During a hearing last week, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Purohit, said he has been in jail for the past nine years but charges have still not been framed against him.
He added that a charge against Purohit, under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), has already been dropped and therefore he is entitled to getting interim bail. A special MCOCA court had earlier ruled that the Anti-Terrorism Squad had wrongly applied this law against Purohit and 10 others.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the National Investigation Agency (NIA), said there was evidence against Purohit that would help in framing a charge.
The top court had on May 5 sought a response from the NIA and the Maharashtra government on the plea of Purohit seeking bail.
Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008, in Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in the Nasik district of northern Maharashtra.
The 4,000-page charge sheet had alleged that Malegaon was selected as the blast target because of a sizeable Muslim population there. It had named Pragya Thakur, Purohit and co-accused, Swami Dayanand Pandey as the key conspirators.