The special National Investigation Agency court on Wednesday rejected a plea seeking to bar Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Singh Thakur from contesting the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, reported Bar and Bench.
“In the ongoing elections, the court does not have any legal powers to prohibit anyone from contesting the polls,” said Special judge VS Padalkar, according to ANI. “It is the job of electoral officers to decide.”
Thakur is the BJP’s candidate from Bhopal. She is contesting against Congress’ Digvijaya Singh. Bhopal will vote on May 12.
The special NIA court said there was no prima facie case against the accused. In April 2017, the Bombay High Court had accepted Thakur’s bail plea, and had said that the offences alleged against her were grave but it cannot be said that there are reasonable grounds to believe that they were prima facie true.
The special NIA court was hearing the plea filed by Nisar Ahmed Sayyad Bilal, the father of one of the Malegaon blast victims. At least six people were killed and 101 injured in the blasts on September 29, 2008.
Petitioner Bilal said Thakur had misled the court, since she has been campaigning for elections in the heat of summer despite being released on health grounds. “She isn’t attending the court proceedings on grounds of ill-health but is campaigning for elections where she isn’t looking unwell,” the lawyer of the applicant told the court.
However, Thakur’s counsel JP Mishra argued that she has got bail not only on medical grounds but also on merit, reported PTI. He said that Thakur has not misled the court. “After the court’s order, she underwent an operation and was unable to walk in 2016,” said Mishra. “Her condition has improved now, but she has not fully recovered.” He added that but a doctor is always present with Thakur where she goes for meetings and campaigning.
On Tuesday, Thakur claimed the application was frivolous and filed to gain publicity. “The applicant has deliberately chosen this court to ventilate misconceived and frivolous application for want of publicity and for extraneous reasons with political agenda,” Thakur had said.
The NIA, in its response to the application, had said that the matter was related to elections and the Election Commission.