Mumbai: Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts, was denied bail on June 28 by a special court in Mumbai, which questioned the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for dropping charges against her. Advocate Wahab Khan, appearing for the intervener in the case who was among the injured, said the court pulled up the NIA for conducting a fresh investigation under the pretext of carrying out a further probe.
The NIA filed a supplementary charge sheet on May 13 in which it dropped charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act against Thakur and four others.
“It cannot be said that due to filing of further report by the NIA, there is any change in circumstances. If this is the position (of NIA), then merely on the ground that the NIA has given no objection, it is difficult to accept the prayer (bail) of applicant,” the special judge said in his order, while holding that there were reasonable grounds to believe accusations against Thakur were prima facie true.
Thakur was charged by the Maharashtra anti terrorism squad (ATS) in 2009 as the motorcycle used in the attack belonged to her. The NIA and the ATS both agreed that the LML Freedom motorcycle used in the blast was registered in her name. But in its supplementary chargesheet on May 13, the NIA said the motorcycle was in the possession of absconding accused Ramchandra Kalsangra, and was being used by him long before the blast.
According to the order, a witness statement showed that Sadhvi Pragya knew of Kalsangra’s role in the blast. “…applicant made inquiry with Ramji as to how there were less casualties though her vehicle was used for causing blast and then Ramji said the reason.” This, the judge said, was evidence of Thakur’s “complicity” with Kalsangra in executing the blast.
The court also observed that the participants in the meeting wanted to establish ‘Hindu Rashtra’ and their discussion showed that they wanted to establish a government in exile. “Prima facie there was a Bhopal meeting and she (Singh) was there,” the court observed. The court also rejected grounds of ill-health and incarceration for over seven years as reasons for granting bail. The court said these grounds were raised during previous bail pleas but were rejected.
In her bail application, Thakur had contended that there was no evidence against her. She is currently lodged in a hospital in Madhya Pradesh, under judicial custody in connection with the Sunil Joshi murder case.
“The court has accepted our arguments that the confession (of other accused) can be relied upon even if the MCOCA is dropped from the case,” Khan said.
Seven people were killed and 101 injured when two bombs fitted on a motorcycle exploded in Malegaon, Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.
(With PTI inputs)