MUMBAI: Retired army major Ramesh Upadhyay, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, was Tuesday granted bail by the Bombay High Court on grounds of parity.
Since 11 of the 14 prime accused in the case have been granted bail over the past few months, a bench of justices Ranjit More and Sadhna Jadhav granted Upadhyay bail against a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties each of the same amount. Now, accused persons Samir Kulkarni and Rakesh Dhawade are the only two still in jail in the case.
When National Investigating Agency (NIA) counsel Sandesh Patil opposed Upadhyay’s bail plea, the bench said its hands were tied in view of the apex court’s directions on grounds of parity. The court asked if Upadhyay’s role in the blast was larger than that of prime accused Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, who was granted bail by the Supreme Court in August.
Upadhyay’s counsel denied that it was so. He also told the court that on September 19, a trial court had granted bail to two other accused — Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi — on grounds of parity.
Even as others in the case are being released on bail, Dhawade has said he does not wish to be released on bail.
Dhawade, lodged in Taloja jail, has been researching the manufacture of arms and armour for nine years.
He wants to complete his research work on weapons and armour in jail as it is the place where he can think peacefully.
Dhawade was arrested for unauthorised or illegal purchase and sale of firearms to Purohit.
In its chargesheet, the NIA claimed that Upadhyay was a member of the right-wing group Abhinav Bharat and that he had attended conspiracy meetings in which the blast was planned.
Upadhyay, in his plea, however, argued that the recordings of these meetings merely showed discussions on Abhinav Bharat and nothing on the blast.
Six persons were killed and 100 others injured in the blast that took place at Malegaon in Maharashtra on September 29, 2008.