Sanction must for prosecution, says Malegaon blast accused

Issue can be decided once trial ends: NIA

Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, told the Bombay High Court on Monday that sanction should be sought from the government before prosecuting him in the case.

Advocate Shrikant Shivade, representing Mr. Purohit, said the special National Investigation Agency court conducting the trial said the issue of sanction would be decided at the end of the trial. However, the Supreme Court had ruled that it should be decided at the time of framing of charges.

Mr. Shivade argued that prior sanction should be sought under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (prosecution of judges and public servants). He went on to say that Mr. Purohit was playing his role and discharging his official duty by gathering information and that he was an “unsung hero” of the Army.

Stating that the trial was going on and 181 witnesses had been examined, NIA counsel Sandesh Patil said approximately 150 more witnesses were left. Hence the issue of sanction could be considered at the end of the trial, he said.

Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal, whose son died in the blast, filed an intervention application through former Additional Solicitor General of India B.A. Desai. Mr. Desai opposed Mr. Purohit’s plea and said though he was charged under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, he had been released on bail. The matter will be heard on July 30.

BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur, Sameer Kulkarni, retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Ajay Rahilkar and Sudhakar Chaturvedi are the other accused in the case.

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