HC grants bail to retired Army Major in Malegaon blast case

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Sep 2017 09:03:06



THE Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted bail to retired Army Major Ramesh Upadhyay, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, on the ground of parity. Since the other prime accused in the case have been granted bail by the High Court and the apex court, a bench of justices Ranjit More and Sadhna Jadhav granted Upadhyay bail against a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties each of the same amount.

While the National Investigating Agency’s (NIA) counsel Sandesh Patil opposed the bail plea, the bench said that its hands were tied in view of the apex court’s directions on the grounds of parity.

The court also asked if Upadhyay’s role in the blast was larger than that of prime accused Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, who was granted bail by the apex court in August. Upadhyay’s counsel denied it and told the court of Purohit having been granted bail.
He also told the court that on September 19, a trial court had granted bail to two other accused persons in the case - Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi - on grounds of parity.

“Upadhyay played a role in hatching the conspiracy for the blasts. He attended several meetings of the Abhinav Bharat group and we have video recordings to prove his presence in some of such meetings,” Patil said.

“However, while the High Court recorded our Opposition to the bail plea, it took cognisance of the fact that several other accused persons were already out on bail,” he said. Last November, the trial court had denied bail to Upadhyay following which he had filed an appeal in the High Court challenging the order. Upadhyay was booked by the NIA for his role in hatching the conspiracy for the blasts along with Purohit. In its chargesheet, the NIA claimed that Upadhyay was a member of the right wing group Abhinav Bharat and that he had attended the conspiracy meetings in which the blast was planned.

Upadhyay, in his plea, however, argued that the recordings of these meetings merely showed discussions on Abhinav Bharat and nothing on the blast. In April, another bench led by Justice More had granted bail to prime accused in the case, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, after the NIA claimed before the court that it had no objection to Thakur being let out on bail.

The bench, however, also said at the time that prima facie, there existed “more than sufficient material on record against” Purohit and thus, rejected his bail plea. It had said at the time that on going through the transcripts of the various conspiracy meetings and Purohit’s phone calls both before and after the blasts, it was clear that he was dissatisfied with the Constitution and instead, envisaged a Hindu Rashtra.