New Delhi: The National Investigative Agency, in an affidavit before the Supreme Court, has said that a plea from the family members of a victim seeking the cancellation of Pragya Thakur’s bail “need not be entertained”, according to a report in the Indian Express.
Pragya Thakur, who was elected as a Member of Parliament from Bhopal is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast and is currently undergoing trial along with six others in the case. Thakur has spent nine years in jail.
After the NIA gave her a “clean chit”, a senior law officer, Rohini Salian, who was the special public prosecutor in the case, issued a public statement that since the BJP government took over in 2014, she was under pressure to “go soft” on the case.
The affidavit submitted by the NIA on December 5 was in response to a special leave petition (SLP) filed by Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal, who lost his son in the September 29, 2008, blast in Malegaon. At least six people were killed and over 100 were injured in the blast.
In its affidavit, the NIA said, “In the said report… the investigation agency has recorded its conclusions based upon the investigation conducted. I crave leave to refer to and rely upon the said report produced before the competent jurisdictional court at the time of hearing of the captioned SLP. I state and submit that in view of the conclusion arrived at, based upon the investigation conducted, the captioned SLP need not be entertained.”
The affidavit by the NIA referred to the supplementary chargesheet that the agency had filed in 2016, which said that since there was insufficient evidence to charge Thakur, she should be discharged from the case.
However, the supplementary chargesheet and the NIA’s decision to give a clean chit to Thakur was not accepted by a special court in Mumbai. On December 27, 2017, the special court rejected her discharge application, which the NIA affidavit to the Supreme Court fails to mention.
In its order on April 24, the special court had rapped the NIA for saying that there was no prima facie evidence against Thakur, while she was on trial and held that charges were framed against Thakur after hearing the accused, prosecutor and intervener and finding prima facie evidence in the chargesheet filed by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).
The special court said that the evidence against Thakur, including the scooter, which was allegedly used in the blast, registered in her name, and conversations between Thakur and other co-accused showed “strong suspicion” of her involvement in the blast.
Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal, who filed the SLP through the Jamiat Ulama-i Hind, said that since Thakur was an influential person, if she continued to remain out on bail, she could influence witnesses and tamper with evidence.
The Supreme Court is likely to hear the SLP next month.
Thakur was granted bail by the Bombay high court in 2017. The court held that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the accusations against her were prima facie true.