OVER TWO weeks after the NIA filed its chargesheet in the Malegaon 2008 blast case, three accused, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, filed for bail on Monday. The NIA, in its chargesheet filed on May 13, had said charges against Sadhvi and six others are not maintainable.
Advocate Prashant Maggu, representing Sadhvi, said the NIA chargesheet had suggested that there is no case made out against her. “This leaves no ground for the case to be maintained against her. The witnesses who the ATS had claimed to have deposed against Sadhvi have retracted their statements, claiming that they never made those allegations. In such circumstances, the case does not stand,” Maggu said.
Sadhvi was the first to be arrested in the case on October 23, 2008. She has been incarcerated since with the trial yet to begin, which was another ground for bail.
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Special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal sought time to file a reply to the application.
The court has given the NIA time till June 6 to respond.
Another accused Praveen Takkalki, against whom the NIA claims there is no evidence to maintain charges, too has sought bail. Takkalki’s bail plea stated that his “is a fit case to discharge”.
Takkalki has been in judicial custody for over five years.
Sudhakar Chaturvedi, a worker of Abhinav Bharat as per the NIA chargesheet, too sought bail on Monday. Chaturvedi is one among 10 accused whom the NIA has continued to chargesheet in accordance with the ATS case. In his bail plea, Chaturvedi cites change in circumstances, including the non-applicability of MCOCA, to seek bail. He also refers to the discarding of previous witness statements recorded, which formed part of evidence against him.
On May 13, the NIA had filed a chargesheet in the case, revoking MCOCA and pointing out “lacunae” in the ATS probe.