The National Investigation Agency on Friday told a special court that there was inadequate evidence to prosecute Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts case. “There are reasonable grounds to believe that the charges against her are prima facie not true,” said the agency, according to The Indian Express. The special NIA court was hearing arguments to frame charges against all the accused.
The NIA further said that it has no objection to the discharge application filed by Thakur after the Bombay High Court granted her bail on April 25. It is likely to hear Thakur’s plea to be set free on May 29, reported DNA. “We have not objected to her discharge plea and in the chargesheet we have already said that there is no prosecutable evidence against her,” said special NIA prosecutor Avinash Rasal, according to NDTV.
In its eight-page reply, the NIA also mentioned that the motorcycle that was used for the explosions did not belong to Thakur. Rasal told The Indian Express that the Forensic Sciences Laboratory could not identify the manufacturer of the two-wheeler and added that the NIA said it was in the possession of Ramji Kalsangra, an absconding accused in the case, for two years before the blasts.
The Maharashtra ATS, however, had said that Thakur gave her motorcycle to Kalsangra. It was investigating the case before the NIA took over in April 2011. The NIA has accused the Maharastra ATS of recording statements of witnesses by putting pressure on them. “We also said that several witnesses who had spoken of Thakur’s presence at the conspiracy meetings and made other incriminating statements before the ATS, had retracted their statements before the NIA. ATS had planted evidence,” Rasal told The Indian Express.
This is the second time the NIA has cited lack of substantial evidence to prosecute Thakur. In January, the agency had told the Bombay High Court that it had no objection to granting bail to Thakur in the September blasts case that left six people dead and several others injured.
In April, the Bombay High Court had granted bail to Thakur but denied relief to Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit. They were both the prime accused in the case and had been jailed for eight years on charges of plotting the explosions as part of pro-Hindu group Abhinav Bharat. Victims of the Malegaon explosions, however, had said that they will challenge Thakur’s bail in the Supreme Court. They had earlier accused the NIA of carrying out an incomplete investigation.