Another witness in the Malegaon 2008 blast case has turned hostile on Wednesday. The witness, who ran a business of arms, and had allegedly serviced accused Lt Col Prasad Purohit’s weapon, refused to recognise him or the weapon in court during his deposition in the trial.
The witness is the 21st person in the case to turn hostile. So far, 252 witnesses have deposed in the case, of whom 20 have turned hostile. Most of these hostile witnesses were connected to circumstances around Purohit, according to Live Law.
BJP MP and Hindu militant Pragya Thakur is among those charged by the NIA in the Malegaon 2008 blast case. In 2016, however, the NIA court had consented to the NIA wanting to drop the stringent charges under the MCOCA Act against Thakur. Thakur continues to face charges in the case under several sections of the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which had initially investigated the blast before the case was transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), had recorded the statement of the witness in 2008. The witness, who ran a business of arms, told the court that in 2006, he had sold ammunition to Purohit. The investigating agency had claimed that the witness had said in his statement in 2008 that Purohit had attempted to purchase a weapon from him without a license in September that year.
However, the witness told the court on Wednesday that Purohit had arms licenses as a military man, and based on that, he had sold him ammunition once.
The witness, when asked to identify Purohit, said he did not remember due to the lapse of time and due to his illness, reports Indian Express. He also told the court that he was unable to identify the weapon shown to him. He denied that he was making a false statement to save Purohit.