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ATS gets Purohit's custody again, searches his house in Pune

National, Wed, 26 Nov 2008 IANS

Nashik/Pune, Nov 26 (IANS) Malegaon blast accused Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit had misused official authority and forged documents for issuing arms license to his friend in 2005, the prosecution told a Nashik court.


The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra police investigating the Malegaon case also searched Purohit's residence in Pune's Erandavane area to look for evidence but officials refused to divulge details of the raid or seizure, if any, to the media.



Giving details of Purohit's dealings with friend Shirish Datye during his stint in the Deolali Army Cantonment three years ago, government lawyer S.S. Sangle told Judge V.V. Joshi that the army officer took Rs.25,000 from Datye, issued him a false certificate showing he was an ex-army officer and provided him an arms license and a rifle from the army quota.



The court remanded Purohit in police custody for three days, brushing aside defence apprehensions of danger to his life in the ATS custody.



Prosecution told the court that though the license was issued in the name of Datye, who is a resident of Nashik, it bore the address of Purohit's official residential quarters in Deolali.



The weapon was purchased from the Ambarnath Ordnance Factory after which Purohit trained Datye at firing range, Sangle told the court.



The army officer then brought another rifle from Jammu and kept it first with Captain Gaurav Sood in Ahmednagar and then gave it to Datye, prosecution said.



Datye, on whose complaint the ATS registered the case against Purohit Nov 16, handed over both weapons to the police.



Submitting to the court the application forms for the licenses, prosecution pointed out that the use of whitener fluid to change the applicant's address and signature was apparent on them.



The false certificate issued from Purohit's Deolali cantonment office did not bear any 'outward' number, the court was told.



Raising doubts about Purohit's activities which were not part of his official duty, Sangle sought the army officer's custody for 14 days.



'Why did Purohit accept money, give the address of his official quarters for issuing arms license to someone else and favour the complainant so much?' the prosecution lawyer asked. She also sought to know why Purohit brought a double-barrel rifle from Jammu from the same forged license.



The army officer was in the ATS custody in Pune till Tuesday in connection with a similar case registered there on the basis of a complaint filed by Shirish Datye's brother Milind.



Defence lawyer Avinash Bhide told the court the two Datye brothers, who are members of Abhinav Bharat, a rightwing Hindutva group co-founded by Purohit, were pressurized by the ATS to file complaints against their friend.



Purohit is the first serving army officer to be accused of a role in a terrorist attack. Six people were killed in the blast in Malegaon town in Maharashtra Sep 29.


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