Mumbai

Advocate wants hostile witness named as accused in 2008 Malegaon case

Lt Col. Prasad Purohit. File

Lt Col. Prasad Purohit. File | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

An advocate appearing for a victim in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts case has written a letter to the Superintendent of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court to turn a witness, who was the Commanding Officer (CO) of Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, into an accused in the trial.

Mr. Purohit is one of the accused in the case. He has been charged under relevant Sections of the Arms Act, the Indian Explosive Substances Act, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Advocate Shahid Nadeem, representing the victims of the blast, has written a letter stating a prosecution witness who took voluntary retirement from the Army in March 2008 was Mr. Purohit’s CO at the relevant time.

“Curiously, in his deposition, he has not only turned hostile (disowned his original statement) but has revealed secret sensitive information pertaining to the army operations (military intelligence). In fact, he has answered questions unrelated to the present case in minute detail during his cross-examination by Mr Purohit’s lawyer. He deliberately travelled beyond his statement to facilitate accused,” the letter reads.

Mr. Nadeem requested that proceedings be initiated against the witness under Section 319 (power to proceed against other persons appearing to be guilty of offence) of the Code of Criminal Procedure and mentioned, “From his statement it is amply clear that he was privy to the information about the blast and all the meetings held by Abhinav Bharat where the preparation for the blast took place.”

A bomb exploded on September 28, 2008, killing six and injuring over 100 persons in Malegaon in Maharashtra’s Nashik district.

On July 15, 2020, NIA counsel told the Bombay High Court that the Central agency will consider reducing the number of witnesses in the trial. NIA’s counsel said there were originally 491 witnesses, of which 181 had been examined.

After a case was filed by the Azad Nagar Police Station, it was re-registered by Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in November 2008, and the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) charges were applied. In January 2009, the ATS had filed its first chargesheet, followed by a supplementary chargesheet filed in April 2011.

However, in April 2011, the Ministry of Home Affairs had suo motu directed the NIA to take up further investigation of the case. The Central agency registered cases under provisions of the MCOCA, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Explosives Substances Act and the Indian Penal Code.

On May 13, 2016, the NIA had filed its second supplementary chargesheet but dropped the MCOCA charges against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Pragya Singh Thakur, Mr. Purohit, Sameer Kulkarni, Ramesh Upadhyay and Sudhakar Chaturvedi.


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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 12:23:05 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/advocate-wants-hostile-witness-named-as-accused-in-2008-malegaon-case/article65579475.ece