A special court of the National Investigation Agency in Mumbai has granted exemption to Pragya Singh Thakur and two other accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case from appearing before it this week, PTI reported on Tuesday.
Thakur and Sudhakar Chaturvedi told the court on Monday that they are busy with work ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha election results. Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit cited personal difficulties while seeking exemption from appearance.
While Thakur contested from the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket, Chaturvedi fought as an independent candidate from Mirzapur seat in Uttar Pradesh.
On May 17, the court had directed all the seven accused in the case to be present before it once a week. The court said exemptions would not be granted without convincing reasons, reported The Indian Express.
Thakur, in her application to the court, said as a Lok Sabha candidate, she has certain duties on the day of the results as per the Election Commission of India, including nominating her agents for the counting of votes in her constituency on Thursday. Chaturvedi, too, cited the same reason.
On Monday, the prosecution examined two witnesses who were among the 101 people injured in the blast, The Indian Express reported.
On September 29, 2008, at least six people died in two blasts in Maharashtra’s Malegaon city. Radical Hindutva outfit Abhinav Bharat is suspected of carrying out the attacks. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad had filed a chargesheet against 14 right-wing extremists in the case.
The National Investigation Agency has submitted a list of 286 witnesses – including doctors, police officers and forensic experts – and more than 200 documents. Apart from Thakur and Purohit, the other accused are Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Sudhakar Chaturvedi. On October 30, the court charged the seven with terror conspiracy, murder and other related offences. They have pleaded not guilty.