Finally, there is a big relief for 2008 Malegaon Accused Col Shrikant Purohit. The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to Col Purohit in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. Earlier, a Bombay High Court’s order had dismissed his bail plea. Purohit had moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court’s order dismissing his bail plea. Supreme Court overruled the Bombay High Court and granted bail to Col Purohit.
Although, the Supreme Court has warned Col Purohit against influencing witnesses or tampering with evidences. This year on 25th April, co-Accused Sadhvi Pragya was granted bail, and hence Col Purohit asked the Court for a bail based on parity. In his appeal, Col Purohit’s counsel said that he has been incarcerated from last 9 years and not one of the pressed charges have been proved right. The appeal was first rejected by Bombay High Court, but today Supreme Court overruled it and granted bail to Col Purohit.
What was the Malegaon Attack?
On 29th September, 2008, an attack occurred in Malegaon, a normally reclusive town not very far away from Nashik, an important spiritual destination in Maharashtra. The attack occurred not only in Malegaon, but also at two other different places, though they failed to succeed, viz. Ahmedabad and Faridabad. These blasts happened only two days after a similar attack, with similar weapons, took place in New Delhi, on 27 September 2008. The attack in Malegaon took place near a hotel in Bhikku Chowk, Malegaon, where bombs fitted to a Hero Honda motorcycle were successfully detonated. It was a low intensity blast that killed 2 people and injured several others.
Soon after the blasts had taken place, investigations were launched into the matter, under the leadership of Maharashtra ATS, which was headed by Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police and noted ex RAW officer, Hemant Karkare. The team found a close link to the attacks and the timing of the same, which was just close to Navaratri, and the agitated activities of a few hardlined, radical nationalist organizations, i.e. Abhinav Bharat, the student union Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, among others.
Based on their investigations, the ATS nabbed the following people as accused in the Malegaon blasts case:-
- Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, ex ABVP activist and a nationalist spiritual leader
- Lt Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, a distinguished Maratha Light Infantry officer, who later joined the military intelligence
- Major Ramesh Upadhyay, a retired Army officer
- Sudhakar Chaturvedi, another retired Army officer
- Dayanand Pandey alias Sudhakar Dwivedi, a spiritual leader heading the Sharda Sarvagya Peeth
Since all of the accused were Hindu, and the bike that was recovered from the blast site found its traces allegedly to a Hindu leader, the ATS came out with a conclusion that this could be the case of Hindu terrorism, readily grasped on by the then UPA government, who coined the term Saffron terror.
However, 9 years after this intense drama, it seems, after unearthing several other facts and figures related to the blast, it seems that all of the above drama was a crude joke, and an attempt to alienate Hindus.
The Bail to Col Purohit comes as a gust of fresh breeze. Times are certainly changing and complex web created by the UPA is getting untangled slowly. One must hail the Judiciary for this wonderful decision.