Pragya Singh Thakur arrives at Special NIA Court to appear in Malegaon blast case
Pragya Singh Thakur, the BJP's MP from Bhopal, on Friday arrived at the Special NIA court for hearing in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case. She had skipped the hearing on Thursday citing poor health. Thakur’s lawyer told the court that she was suffering from high blood pressure and is not in a condition to travel from Bhopal to Mumbai. The court granted an exemption, but directed Thakur to be present on Friday or “face consequences”. Thursday was the second time this week that the BJP MP failed to appear before the court. The bench noted that Thakur’s medical documents were not submitted along with her petition.
When the Special NIA Judge asked Pragya Thakur if she knew or did your lawyer told you about how many witnesses have been examined by the prosecution till nowm she replied 'I don't know.' Special NIA Judge asked Pragya Thakur, 'All the witnesses who have been examined till now, it has transpired that there was a blast on September 29, 2008 in which several people died. What do you have to say?' The Bhopal MP replied 'I don't know.'
In October last year, the court had framed charges in the case against all the seven accused for terror activities, criminal conspiracy and murder, among others.
The accused face trial under sections of the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
They were charged under sections 16 (committing terrorist act) and 18 (conspiring to commit terrorist act) of the UAPA.
Under the IPC, they were charged under sections 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 153 (a) (promoting enmity between two religious groups).
The accused were also charged under relevant sections of the Explosive Substances Act.
On September 29, 2008, six people were killed and over 100 injured when an explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, a town about 200 km from here in north Maharashtra.
The court also rejected a plea seeking the presence of anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officers in court during trial to assist the special public prosecutor.
It is for ATS to depute officers and decide whether or not they can remain present, the judge observed, adding that it is not the business of the court to depute ATS officer to assist the public prosecutor.
The plea was was filed by Nisar Ahmed Sayyed (59), who lost his son Sayyed Azhar in the blast.
He filed the plea through advocates Shahid Nadeem and Adil Shaikh, requesting the court to direct the head or higher authority of the ATS to depute officers concerned to assist the special public prosecutor (NIA) during the trial.
(With PTI inputs)