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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

No objection to Sadhvi Pragya Singh’s discharge in Malegaon blast case: NIA

Thakur had moved the application seeking discharge from the case after the Bombay High Court granted her bail on April 25.

Written by Radhika Ramaswamy | Mumbai | Updated: May 13, 2017 5:53:46 am
Sadhvi Pragya Singh, sadhvi pragya, malegaon blast, 2008 malegaon blast, NIA, indian express news, india news Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) told the Special NIA court on Friday that it has no objection to the discharge application filed by Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case. Thakur had moved the discharge application after the Bombay High Court granted her bail on April 25.

The NIA, in its eight-page reply to Thakur’s discharge application, said there is insufficient material to prosecute her and “there are reasonable grounds to believe that the charges against her are prima facie not true”.

The Maharashtra ATS, which was investigating the case before the NIA took over in April 2011, had said Thakur provided her motorcycle to Ramji Kalsangra, an absconding accused, to plant the bomb which killed six persons in Malegaon on September 29, 2008. She was also accused of being a part of the “conspiracy meetings” in Bhopal.

Special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal said the NIA, in its reply, stated the motorcycle did not belong to Thakur and the Forensic Sciences Laboratory could not, with certainty, identify the manufacturer of the two-wheeler. It said the motorcycle was in Kalsangra’s possession for two years before the blast.

“In the reply, we also said that several witnesses who had spoken of Sadhvi’s presence at the conspiracy meetings and made other incriminating statements before the ATS, had retracted their statements before the NIA. ATS had planted evidence. We have pointed out that the ATS tortured these witnesses to give false statements and many witnesses had even filed formal complaints against ATS alleging torture,” said Rasal.

The NIA also stated that there is no electronic evidence to prove that Thakur was in touch with Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange, another absconding accused, who were alleged to have planted the bombs.

Rasal said the NIA has also cited the order of the high court, which doubted the applicability of MCOCA in the case. The Supreme Court had also raised this point in 2015, while hearing the bail applications filed by Thakur, co-accused Lt Col Prasad Purohit and other accused in the case.

The NIA, in its supplementary chargesheet filed in May 2016, had dropped the stringent MCOCA charge against all the accused, citing lack of substantial evidence. Since the statements of the co-accused were recorded before the MCOCA charge was dropped, Rasal said, the high court held that it was proper to exclude their confessional statements.

During Thakur’s bail plea hearing in the high court, the NIA had raised no objection while the lawyer for intervenor Nisar Bilal, father of a blast victim, had opposed the plea.

While Purohit has applied for bail before the Supreme Court, after his plea was rejected by the Bombay High Court, another accused, Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey, has filed a bail plea before the special court. Sameer Kulkarni, another accused, has applied for discharge.

The special court is hearing arguments on framing of charges against all the accused.

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