Bharatiya Janata Party MP Pragya Singh Thakur on Friday appeared before a special National Investigation Agency court in Mumbai in connection with the Malegaon blasts case, PTI reported.
“Do you know or has your lawyer told you about how many witnesses have been examined by the prosecution till now?” the judge asked Thakur, according to ANI. “I don’t know,” she replied.
“All the witnesses who have been examined till now, it has transpired that there was a blast on 29th September 2008 in which several people died,” the judge said. “What do you have to say?”
Thakur repeated that she did not know anything about the matter.
Thakur, an accused in the case, had skipped the hearing on Thursday citing poor health. However, on the same day, she was spotted at an event marking the birth anniversary of medieval Rajput king Maharana Pratap in MP Nagar area of Bhopal, her constituency.
Thakur’s lawyer had told the court that she was suffering from high blood pressure and was not in a condition to travel from Bhopal to Mumbai. The court had granted an exemption, but directed Thakur to be present on Friday or “face consequences”. Thursday was the second time this week that the BJP MP failed to appear before the court. The bench noted that Thakur’s medical documents were not submitted along with her petition.
Thakur was admitted to a hospital in Bhopal on Wednesday night after she visited the home of the Bhopal Shahar Kazi, Syed Mushtaq Ali Nadvi, on the occasion of Eid. She was, however, discharged on Thursday morning.
The last time Thakur had appeared in court was in October, when charges were framed against her and other accused in 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 before it as the results of the Lok Sabha elections were set to be declared two days later.
Thakur 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.
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”.