Bharatiya Janata Party MP Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, did not attend court proceedings on Tuesday even though her appeal for exemption from appearance was rejected, NDTV reported.
The special National Investigation Agency court, however, allowed her advocates to file a new petition seeking exemption for one day. Thakur must now appear in court before June 7. The court adjourned the hearing on Tuesday as a witness was absent.
The BJP parliamentarian from Bhopal had said in her application on Monday that she needed to complete formalities related to her election to Parliament. The Monsoon Session of Parliament will begin on June 17. But special NIA Judge VS Padalkar rejected the application, saying Thakur’s presence was necessary in the case. The judge said the Supreme Court had already issued orders to expedite the case.
On May 17, the trial court had ordered all the accused, including Thakur, to be present before it once a week. However, on May 21, it granted Thakur and two others exemption from appearance. The BJP leader had urged the court to exempt her from appearing in court as the results of the Lok Sabha elections were set to be declared two days later.
Malegaon blasts case
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 Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant 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.
The BJP gave a Lok Sabha ticket to Thakur from Bhopal, against Congress leader Digvijaya Singh because he reportedly coined the terms “Hindu terror” and “saffron terror”.