More than a year after a special NIA court in Bhopal transferred the Sunil Joshi murder case to Dewas, the town where the RSS functionary was shot dead in 2007, a sessions court has framed charges against eight persons, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh.
After investigating the case for three years the NIA had ruled out that Joshi’s murder was linked to the larger saffron terror conspiracy, and submitted a final report, saying he was killed because he made sexual advances towards Pragya.
The Dewas Police, which carried out the initial investigation and even filed a chargesheet, had also come to a similar finding before the probe was handed over to the NIA.
Pragya was not present in the Dewas court when the charges of murder and conspiracy were framed against her. She is an accused in other cases of alleged Hindu terror and is in jail.
The video conferencing facility through which she was to hear those charges did not function. Two other accused, Rajendra Choudhary and Lokesh Sharma, who are also accused in other cases, could not be brought to Dewas.
Public prosecutor Girish Mungi told The Indian Express that he has been asked to submit the list of witnesses before September 28. He said the trial will begin after that.
The NIA and the Dewas police have identified, except Pragya, different sets of accused. The accused identified by the Dewas Police were present in Dewas. Out on bail, they used to regularly attend the hearing in the NIA court.
The NIA did not believe the testimony of Ramesh Sharma, the main eyewitness who the Dewas police said saw Harshad Solanki pull the trigger at Joshi. The NIA had identified Rajendra Chaudhary and Lokesh Sharma as the actual killers. The central agency’s final report said evidence could not be collected to establish the role of Anand Raj Kataria, Vasudev Parmar, Harshad Solanki and Ramcharan Patel, who were chargesheeted by the Dewas Police.