2008 Malegaon blasts - Anti-national activities part of info gathering mission: Lt Col Purohit

Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit
Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit

Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, claimed yesterday before the Bombay High Court that he had got in touch with co-accused anti-national elements, attended their meetings and spoken out against the country only to gather information on terror groups like the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Also read - 2008 Malegaon blast: NIA records ATS officer's statement

"Shocked that I did the most difficult work for this country and now I am labelled as a terrorist," he claimed through his counsel, senior advocate Shrikhant Shivde. The court was hearing his bail application.

Superiors in loop
Shivde acknowledged that Lt Col Purohit had attended several meetings as claimed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad, but he claimed that his superiors in the Army were in the know. The counsel said he was a brilliant officer whose superiors had appreciated his effort in breaking down SIMI modules.

"To gather information, he attended the meetings. To look like them and make them believe that he was one of their own, he had to speak out against the country. [This exchange] was recorded on a laptop and is know one of the main evidence against Purohit," said Shivde.

He pointed out that the Army's court of inquiry against Lt Col Purohit had appreciated his work as well. He added that the sessions court's assumption that the Army officer's war against jihad implied his animosity for Muslims was wrong.

Going easy on bigger fish
Shivde said those accused of more significant roles in the blast had been "exonerated" — a reference to the NIA's clean chit to prime accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur — and that the RDX seized was planted by an ATS officer against Lt Col Purohit. He said the officer was framed by political parties worried by the growing clout of right-wing organisation, Abhinav Bharat, founded by Purohit as part of his mission.

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