On Tuesday, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Mumbai, granted exemption from regular appearance to BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur. This was in relation to the Malegaon blast case of 2008. Thakur is one of the seven accused in the case.
Special NIA court in Mumbai grants exemption from regular appearance to BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur in 2008 Malegaon blast case
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Special Judge PR Sitre, on Tuesday granted exemption to Thakur. Her lawyer JP Mishra had filed a written application earlier. It cited the MP’s difficulty in travelling regularly due to health and security concerns.
Her lawyer said in the application, “Thakur has multiple illnesses and is undergoing treatment at AIIMS. Even while she was in Mumbai (yesterday), she had undergone some tests at Kokilaben Hospital where doctors told her she was having multiple complications and needed to be treated by a team of doctors”.
He further said that Thakur, who is the BJP MP from Bhopal, has “threat to her life”. Hence, Madhya Pradesh Police has provided six armed personnel for her security. Besides that, two personal aides accompany her wherever she goes. Having all these security personnel, makes it difficult for her to travel.
The other reasons cited include that Thakur has responsibilities towards her constituency, as she is the member of Parliament.
According to special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal, judge Sitre considered her plea and exempted her from regular appearance. He asked her to remain present in the court as and when required.
On December 19, 2020, judge Sitre had given “last chance” to Thakur to appear before the court. He had also expressed disappointment over her failure to appear before the court twice last month.
Thakur had earlier appeared in the court in June 2019, after the order for the seven accused to remain present once a week. Since then, she has sought exemption from appearance on various occasions.
Six others accused in the case include Lt Col Prasad Purohit, Sameer Kulkarni, Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Ajay Rahirkar and Sudhakar Dwivedi.
In March last year, after the imposition of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the trial had come to a hault. Last month, the special NIA court resumed the trial. Out of the total 400 witnesses, 140 have been examined so far.
About 2008 Malegaon Blast
Six people were killed and over 100 others were injured on September 29, 2008. An explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went-off near a mosque in Malegaon. It is a town located in north Maharashtra, about 200 km from Mumbai.
In October 2018, the court had framed terror charges against Purohit, Thakur and five other accused.