Puro­hit turns hos­tile, de­nies meet­ing Swami Asee­m­anand

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - | POLITICS POLICY -

TIMES Hy­der­abad: Lieu­tenant Colonel Shrikant Puro­hit, an ac­cused in the 2008 Male­gaon blast case and a Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency (NIA) wit­ness in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case, turned hos­tile on Wed­nes­day.

Shrikant Prasad Rao Puro­hit ap­peared be­fore the fourth ad­di­tional metropoli­tan ses­sions judge-cum-spe­cial court for NIA cases amid tight army se­cu­rity. He was cross-ex­am­ined by the NIA coun­sel, be­fore the pros­e­cu­tion de­clared him a “hos­tile wit­ness”.

While de­pos­ing be­fore the court, he de­nied knowl­edge of the Mecca Masjid blast or any in­ves­ti­gat­ing agency record­ing his state­ment as a wit­ness in the case. The re­in­stated of­fi­cer de- nied meet­ing Swami Asee­m­anand alias Nabaku­mar Sarkar, the prime ac­cused in the Mecca Masjid blast case, and spoke about Su­nil Joshi, who was re­spon­si­ble for the bomb blast at Ajmer Dar­gah.

Around 1.25pm on May 18, 2007, a bomb blast on the Mecca Masjid premises dur­ing Fri­day prayers had killed nine peo­ple and wounded 58. nand had called him on De­cem­ber 29, 2007 and told him that Su­nil Joshi was mur­dered and was “apna banda”. NIA had abated the ac­tion against Su­nil Joshi, since he had died.

Puro­hit, de­pos­ing be­fore the court, said he had served in the counter-in­tel­li­gence cell of the In­dian Army and met sev­eral per­sons, but did not have any knowl­edge about the ac­cused per­sons al­legedly in­volved in the Mecca Masjid blast case. He also told the court that in the Male­gaon blast case, he was ar­rested by the po­lice.

The of­fi­cer also dis­owned the “Ab­hi­nav Bharat Trust” and told the court that he never founded it. Puro­hit, how­ever, said he knew Ajay Rahirkar and Kulka­rni, ac­cused in the Male­gaon-II bomb blast case.

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