New Delhi, June 14: A letter, purportedly written by 2008 Malegaon blast case accused Lt. Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, has disclosed the “barbaric and inhuman” treatment meted out to him in the custody of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), said media reports. Purohit was arrested by the Maharashtra ATS team nearly nine years ago for his alleged role in the case which was later handed over to the National Investigating Agency (NIA).
The letter written by Purohit dates back to the year 2013 wherein he wrote chilling details of how he was treated during the course of nine years inside the prison. With Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and Army officers torturing, thrashing and forcing him to own up a crime he never committed, Purohit further goes on to actually name at least six officers who harassed and abused him severely in his 24-page long letter. After being released on bail last year by the Supreme Court, Lt. Col. Purohit also spoke about how he became a target and suffered because of “political crossfire”. The apex court had finally accepted his bail plea last year on August 17 quashing the Bombay High Court’s order.
The allegations leveled by Purohit was later probed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the accused officers were also questioned in this regard. This investigation was carried out after political activist named Neeraj Gunde sought a detailed probe into this matter and thus wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Gunde has also sought the PM’s time to speak to him about the matter.
The Malegaon bomb blast incident took place on September 29, 2008 in Maharashtra’s Nashik which is communally-sensitive. At least seven people had died and several were injured in the bomb blast. Apart from Lt. Col. Purohit who claimed he had been wrongfully accused in the case, a Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court had also pointed out earlier that the ATS had charged Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Purohit and nine others on unjustified grounds.