Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, who is one of the main accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, claimed before the Bombay High Court on Monday that he is an “unsung” hero of the Indian Army, who spent nearly nine years in jail before being bailed out in 2017. Senior advocate Shrikant Shivade, who is Purohit’s lawyer, urged the high court bench comprising Justices NJ Jamadar and SS Shinde to direct the special NIA court to act on his complaint on granting prior sanction for prosecution.

In the past, Purohit has filed several petitions requesting that all charges against him be dropped. Purohit has claimed that he had masterminded the alleged conspiracy as part of his “national duty’ as an officer of the army, and hence the NIA (National Investigation Agency) ought to have obtained prior permission from the central government before making the move to prosecute him.

“I have spent nine years in jail and has undergone a lot of torture. I had been reinstated in the Army because I had maintained a good record. I am an unsung hero of the Indian Army. The trial court must first make a decision on the issue of prior permission to prosecute,” Advocate Shivade told the court on behalf of his client.

Shivade further added that there were 500-odd witnesses in the case, out of which only 181 had been called before the NIA court. However, NIA counsel Sandesh Patil has opposed the affidavit filed by Shivade. According to him, the trial was started only after framing the charges. “Purohit must wait his turn,” he was quoted as saying.