‘Who asked you to attend conspiracy meetings, what steps did you take to prevent it?’ Bombay High Court to Lt. Col. Purohit

"If he knew whatever was going to happen, did he take any step to prevent it," Justice Shinde enquired.

Image courtesy: Bar and Bench

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday questioned Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit, an accused in the Malegaon Blast case of 2008, on why he had attended the alleged conspiracy meetings which discussed plans to conduct the blasts and what steps he took to prevent the blasts after he attended the alleged meetings.

A Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale was hearing a plea filed by Purohit assailing the special court move to take cognizance against him in the Malegaon blasts case without obtaining the requisite sanction from the government under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

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“If he knew whatever was going to happen, did he take any step to prevent it,” Justice Shinde enquired.

Advocate Shrikant Shivade appearing for Purohit submitted that the meeting was merely a socio-political one in which there was no mention of the proposed blasts.

He informed the Court that Purohit had attended the meeting to gain inside information on the Malegaon Blast to give the intelligence information to his officers.

Justice Shinde asked whether there was any documentary material to substantiate the claim that Purohit had attended the meeting as part of his official duty.

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Shivade replied that Purohit attended the meeting to gather counter-intelligence and after informing his superiors.

Justice Pitale had, during the previous hearing, asked Purohit to clarify his contention that he was deputed by the military to attend the meeting.

“Is there any document to show that the military has asked you to do it? Your endeavour is to show that it is part of your work. Who asked you to attend? Who deputes you to do the job?”

Shivade had then responded that in the intelligence department, there is no paperwork. However, a witness had deposed with regard to Purohit reporting to his seniors about the information he was collecting.

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“No one asked. As an intelligence officer, you inform. No one delegates. The source gave information. Purohit worked on it and then reported the case to his seniors,” Shivade added.

Justice Shinde on Tuesday asked why Purohit could not raise these issues before the trial court and why they were being advanced before the High Court.

Shivade responded that so far, none of the witnesses in the trial had said anything against Purohit.

“He has been reinstated in service, why should he suffer (by) going through this entire trial?”

Due to the paucity of time today, the Court adjourned the hearing to February 15, 2021. All counsel were directed to submit their written submissions before the hearing. 

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First published in the Bar and Bench

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