2008 Malegaon blast trial: Accused Lt Col Purohit alleges torture by ATS

Mumbai, May 8 (PTI) Lt Col Prasad Purohit, an accused in the September 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, in his final statement submitted to the trial court here has alleged that he was tortured by senior officials of the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) including its then chief Hemant Karkare during the investigation.

Purohit in a 23-page statement submitted to the special court for National Investigation Agency (NIA) cases claimed that Karkare, then ATS joint commissioner Param Bir Singh and others tortured him and insisted that he also name senior right-wing leaders in the crime besides confessing to his own involvement.

The trial is in its last stages, and the special court has been recording final statements of the accused under section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

On Tuesday, Purohit submitted his statement through his lawyer.

The ATS concocted a false case to suit the political narrative of the then government, he alleged.

Notably, the Congress-led UPA was in power at the Centre then while in Maharashtra, there was a Congress-NCP government.

He was detained by the ATS in October 2008 and taken to Khandala where he was questioned by Karkare, Param Bir Singh and other ATS officials, Purohit’s statement claimed.

Karkare and Singh insisted that he admit involvement in the blast conspiracy and assaulted him physically, it alleged.

Six people were killed and more than 100 injured when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, a town about 200 km from Mumbai in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.

The case was initially probed by the ATS before being transferred to the NIA in 2011.

Karkare was among the police officers martyred in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Purohit and six others including BJP MP Pragya Thakur are facing trial in the case under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Explosive Substances Act, Indian Arms Act and Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

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