Upadhyay was liable for the charge of “waging war against the nation”.
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Major Ramesh Upadhyay (retd), one of the prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, on grounds of parity.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Ranjit More and Justice Sadhna Jadhav granted him bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 100,000 and two sureties. National Investigating Agency (NIA) counsel Sandesh Patil opposed the bail plea, but the court said it had no options in view of Supreme Court directions on parity since other prime accused in the case have been enlarged on bail.
On whether Upadhyay was liable for the charge of “waging war against the nation” and if his role in the blast was bigger than that of another prime accused, Lt Col Prasad S Purohit, who was released last month on bail, Upadhyay’s lawyer Sudeep Pasbola denied it. Pasbola contended that the apex court has recently given bail to Purohit while a Special MCOCA Court in Mumbai had last week granted bail to other accused — Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey and Sudhakar Chaturvedi — and hence Upadhyay also was entitled to bail on grounds of parity.
Upadhyay was arrested prior to Purohit in the case wherein a blast in a Muslim locality of Malegaon in Nashik district left seven dead and over 100 injured. He was accused of joining various meetings organised by right-wing organisation Abhinav Bharat, reportedly founded by Purohit. Pasbola said the organisation was not banned and the blast proposal was given by Purohit and others as they had planned to wage a guerrilla war, as per the charge sheet filed against them.
In its charge sheet, the NIA has detailed transcripts of telephonic conversations between Purohit and Upadhyay as prime evidence against the latter. Upadhyay is the 10th accused to get bail in the case, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur who was released last year. In May 2016, a Special MCOCA Court had dropped the charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act against 11 accused in the Malegaon case.