MUMBAI: Around nine years after he was arrested in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit today walked out on bail from Taloja jail in neighbouring Navi Mumbai and reported back to his Army unit.
As he came out of the prison at around 10.45 am, two days after the Supreme Court granted him relief, a team of Military Police and Quick Response Team of the Army escorted Purohit to a military station at Colaba in south Mumbai in a car.
Sources said he was given the "protection" considering possible security threat to him.
Purohit, who was suspended after his arrest, reported to the liasoning unit of the Army's Southern Command in Mumbai and is currently staying at an army establishment in the city and will be under various restrictions including his movement inside the unit, the sources at the Delhi-based army headquarters said.
The sources said the Army headquarters will review his suspension from service after examining the apex court order.
Purohit, who was an officer from intelligence corp, was suspended from service soon after he was arrested in connection with the Malegaon blast case in in late 2008.
The sources said Purohit is likely to go to his unit in Pune where he was working before his arrest in the Malegaon blast case in late 2008.
Purohit, however, did not attend a hearing related to the blast case at the NIA court in Mumbai today after his lawyer filed an exemption plea for the day.
"We filed an exemption application before the court saying that some formalities were going on with the Army, and hence he will not be able to attend the hearing today," said Purohit's lawyer, advocate Shrikant Shivde.
Special NIA prosecutor Avinash Rasal said the court allowed the exemption application "only for today".
Purohit was in jail for his alleged role in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, in which the apex court granted him bail on Monday.
A bench of Justices R K Agrawal and A M Sapre set aside the April 25 order of Bombay High Court which had denied him bail.
Six people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008 at Malegaon, a communally sensitive textile town in Nashik district of north Maharashtra.
Purohit was yesterday produced before the special NIA court here which is hearing the accused on framing of charges in the blast case, while his lawyers approached the Supreme Court and got his bail conditions modified.
Following this, the Mumbai court issued a release order, but he wasn't released last night as some formalities were to be completed.
Today, all the legal formalities were completed following which Purohit stepped out of Taloja prison.
Talking to reporters outside the court yesterday, Purohit had said he wanted to rejoin the Army as soon as possible.
"I want to wear my uniform. It is outermost layer of my skin. I am wedded to it. I am very happy to get back into the service of the best organisation in the country if not the world, the Indian Army," he had said.
"I have two families -- the Army and my family which includes my wife, my two sons, sister and mother. I cannot wait to return to them," he said.
The Army didn't "let me down", said Purohit.
While granting bail to Purohit, the apex court had said that there were "material contradictions" in the charge sheets filed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) Mumbai and the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which are required to be tested at the time of trial, and it cannot pick or choose one version over the other.