BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya (File Photo)
The father of one of the victims of the 2008 Malegaon blast moved the special NIA court in Mumbai on Thursday, urging it to bar prime accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur from contesting the Lok Sabha election. The application was filed by Nisar Sayeed, who lost his son in the blast, a day after the BJP fielded Thakur from the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat against Congress veteran Digvijay Singh.
Special National Investigation Agency cases judge VS Padalkar sought replies from both the NIA and Thakur and posted the matter for Monday. The applicant sought that Thakur, who is out on bail, be asked to attend court proceedings in Mumbai and be barred from contesting the election as the trial is in progress.
It further mentioned that Thakur got bail on health grounds. If she was "healthy enough to fight elections in the crippling summer’s heat", then she has misled the court, the complainant alleged. A petition seeking cancellation of her bail was pending before the Supreme Court, it said.
Meanwhile, Indian businessman Tehseen Poonawalla also reached out to the Election Commission, requesting the poll panel to debar Thakur from contesting elections as she is a terror accused.
Tehseen Poonawalla files complaint with Election Commission against candidature of Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal Parliamentary constituency by BJP for #LokSabhaElections2019 ; "requests EC to debar her from contesting elections as she is a terror accused". pic.twitter.com/hCyfeSgFnX— ANI (@ANI) April 18, 2019
Reacting to this new war of words over Pragya’s induction, BJP leader Ram Madhav said, "accusation of saffron terror, Hindu terror was a creation of the UPA. No such thing existed or exists now. Some people were wrongfully put in jail. Nobody can question us on constitutional validity of putting up a candidate who has just allegations against her".
"The decision is taken by Madhya Pradesh unit. She is probably right challenger for a person like Digvijay Singh who is largely responsible for propagating dubious and mischievous idea of Hindu terror in this country. He needed a proper challenger," Madhav added.
Ram Madhav, BJP on Pragya Thakur: The decision is taken by Madhya Pradesh unit. She is probably right challenger for a person like Digvijay Singh who is largely responsible for propagating dubious & mischievous idea of Hindu terror in this country. He needed a proper challenger https://t.co/zwdGAj2EqO— ANI (@ANI) April 18, 2019
Six people were killed and over hundred injured in a bomb blast at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested Thakur and others in the case, alleging that they were part of a Hindu extremist group which carried out the blast.
The NIA later gave Thakur a clean chit, but the court did not discharge Thakur. It dropped charges against her under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, but she is still facing trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Indian Penal Code sections.