Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused to defer framing of charges against Lt Colonel Prasad Purohit in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. The court, however, asked the trial court to decide on the issue of validity of sanction under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) before framing of charges.
A Division bench of justices SS Shinde and Mridula Bhatkar were hearing the application filed by Colonel Purohit seeking deferment in the framing of charges by the trial court until the main appeal about the validity of prosecution sanction is decided. The framing of charges is scheduled for Wednesday before a special NIA court.
Advocate Shrikant Shivade, who was appearing for Colonel Purohit, informed the court that the prosecution sanction granted by government for Purohit was not under law. He argued that sanction obtained under UAPA was defective.
"As per an amendment in the UAPA in 2008, an appropriate authority should conduct an independent review before sending it for sanction to the state government and that this step was bypassed by the NIA while obtaining sanction. The sanctioning procedure was bypassed by the Maharashtra ATS while invoking UAPA charges," he told the court.
The NIA counsel argued that the sanctioning is a procedural issue and can be decided during trial and not before that as the case been pending in court for a long time.
Purohit had approached the Bombay High Court last year challenging the prosecution sanction. He approached the Supreme Court after the high court refused to quash the prosecution sanction.
The Supreme Court directed that the issue be decided by trial court during framing of charges, following which he approached the high court and filed a fresh plea to stay the framing of charges until the issue of prosecution sanction is decided.
Purohit was arrested in November 2008 for allegedly procuring RDX to carry out the blast and hatching the conspiracy. Six people were killed and 101 injured after an explosive strapped on a motorcycle went off in Malegaon.