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Purohit to be attached to Army unit, remain under suspension for now (Lead)

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Lt. Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast who was granted bail by the Supreme Court, will be attached to an Army unit but remain under suspension from service for now, informed sources said on Monday.

The Supreme Court earlier on Monday granted bail to Purohit, who spent nine years in prison. The Malegaon blast had killed seven people.

Purohit was suspended from service on January 20, 2009, after his arrest. He was posted at the Deolali Cantonment of the Indian Army in Maharashtra as a Liaison Unit Officer when he was arrested.

The sources said he continues to be under suspension, but since he has now been ordered to be released on bail, he has to be attached to an Army unit. The order for his posting will come after his bail orders reach the Army Headquarters.

He is likely to report back to the unit from where he was arrested. His suspension would be reviewed later, the sources said.

As per the rules, under suspension, he will be treated as “under open arrest”, wherein usually a soldier was supposed to wear only his uniform. Purohit, under suspension, can wear civilian clothes as well.

His stay in his Army unit will come along with restrictions like limited area of movement, not leave the station without permission and reporting daily.

He would also not be allowed to attend any public event or gathering.

Purohit’s return to active duty will depend on the final verdict in the case, the sources said.

During suspension, a soldier gets 25 per cent of his salary. However, Purohit had approached the Armed Force Tribunal, which had ordered that he should be given 75 per cent of his salary.

Purohit was accused of providing RDX for the bomb that killed seven persons in Maharashtra’s Muslim-majority town of Malegaon on September 29, 2008.

He was accused of being part of Hindu right-wing group Abhinav Bharat. Purohit, however, said he was there to spy on the group members and had kept his seniors in the loop on all developments.

According to the sources, the report of a Court of Inquiry constituted by the Army in the case supported his claim.

The Defence Ministry, after orders from the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, had provided documents related to him for investigation.

On Monday, Supreme Court Justices R.K. Agrawal and Abhay Manohar Sapre granted bail to Purohit after telling him not to tamper with evidence.

The suspended Army officer had challenged the April 25 Bombay High Court order that granted bail to co-accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur but rejected his bail plea.

Post Source: Ians feed

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