Purohit walks out after nine years in jail

Lt. Col. Shrikant Prasad Purohit being escorted by an Army convoy from Taloja jail on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Yogesh Mhatre

Lt. Col. Shrikant Prasad Purohit, walked out of the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai at 10.45 a.m. on Wednesday. He was granted bail on Monday by the Supreme Court in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case.

He was taken in a car by the Military Police and the Quick Response Team of the Army to a military station at Colaba. Lt. Col. Purohit spent almost nine years in jail, eight of them at Taloja, for his alleged role in the blasts.

Sadanand Gaikwad, Deputy Superintendent of Taloja jail, said, “We received the release orders by hand from the parent court — the NIA court — at 9 p.m. on Tuesday. The remaining formalities were completed this morning after which he was released.”

As per protocol, the jail authorities cannot release a person without the parent court’s directive. “On Tuesday, Mr. Purohit was produced before Judge S.D. Tekale wherein the court passed a standing order for releasing him on bail as per the directions of the Supreme Court after a bond of ₹2 lakh,” said Mr. Gaikwad.

Two Army trucks, two jeeps, and a Swift Dzire reached Taloja at around 9.30 a.m. on Wednesday. Lt. Col. Purohit sat in the car with an Army jeep ahead of him and another behind, followed by two Army trucks. While he waved at the waiting reporters, he did not stop to speak.

Defence sources said Lt. Col. Purohit reported to senior officers at the military station in Colaba. His lawyer also sought exemption from appearing for every hearing, so that he could resume his earlier posting in Pune. The exemption, however, was denied by the sessions court on Wednesday. He will be spending the night at the military station and appear in the court on Thursday.

Mr. Gaikwad said, “Mr. Purohit was kept in a cell at the Hospital Yard. In the eight years he was here, his conduct was good and he was not involved in any scuffle. Due to his military background, he was always quite a disciplined prisoner, who followed a set routine. He would do regular exercises. Apart from some instances of fever and cold, he has never got any major illness.” Six people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nashik district.

While granting him bail on Monday, the apex court said there were “material contradictions” in the charge sheets filed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad, Mumbai, and the NIA.

(With inputs from Gautam S. Mengle)

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 11:47:03 PM |

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