Malegaon accused Pragya Singh appears before court

Hearing adjourned to January 5

Pragya Singh Thakur, sitting Member of Parliament of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast that killed six and injured 101 appeared before the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Monday.

Ms. Thakur was given a “last chance” to appear before the court on December 19 by Special Judge P.R. Sitre after she failed to appear on two occasions.

Ms. Thakur, along with other accused Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, Sameer Kulkarni, Ramesh Upadhyay and Sudhakar Chaturvedi, were standing in the box earmarked for accused. Two accused — Ajay Rahirkar and Sudhakar Dwivedi — were not present.

The hearing was, however, adjourned to January 5 as a lawyer representing Mr. Dwivedi could not be present to cross examine the panch witness.

Ms. Thakur filed an application before the Special Court seeking exemption from physical appearance citing medical and security concerns.

Advocate Prashant Maggu, representing, Ms. Thakur told The Hindu, “Ms. Thakur is not likely to be present in court on Tuesday (January 5) as she has an eye problem and has an appointment at Kokilaben Hospital for the same.”

On June 7, 2019, Ms. Thakur had told the court that she did not know anything about the blast. She was granted bail by the Bombay High Court on April 25, 2017 after the court held “prima facie, no case was made out against her”.

So far, around 140 witnesses out of the total 400 have been examined in the case and all accused are charged with murder, abetment and conspiracy under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Ms. Thakur was chargesheeted by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad in 2009, stating that the bomb was tied to her motorcycle. The NIA had found evidence against her to be the weakest and said that evidence against her was not substantial. In the supplementary chargesheet filed by the Central agency, it said the motorcycle, which was registered in her name, was used by an absconding accused.

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