BJP MP and Malegaon 2008 blast case accused Pragya Singh Thakur Thursday sought exemption from appearance before the trial court in Mumbai stating that she has been hospitalised following high blood pressure and related ailments. But in Bhopal around noon Thursday, Thakur attended an event in M P Nagar to garland the statue of Maharana Pratap on his birth anniversary.
On Wednesday evening, Thakur, accompanied by local BJP leaders, visited the home of the Bhopal Shahar Kazi, Syed Mushtaq Ali Nadvi, on the occasion of Eid, offering him sweets and dry fruits. She was admitted to Care Hospital at night and discharged Thursday morning.
She was to appear before the Mumbai trial court Thursday. Last month, the court had directed all accused in the blast case to remain present before it at least once a week.
On Monday, Thakur had sought exemption from appearing for the whole week from June 3 to June 7, but her plea was rejected by the court. On Thursday, while the court accepted her exemption plea for the day, it said that she should remain present on Friday. It also noted that no medical documents were submitted along with her plea stating that she has been hospitalised.
In her plea, Thakur said that following the court’s order on June 3 directing her to remain present this week, she was to appear before the court Thursday but has been hospitalised. She said she will “try” coming to court Friday.
The court also directed another accused, Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi, to remain present after he filed an exemption plea stating that he was participating in the Kheer Bhawani Mahotsav in Jammu and Kashmir. He said it is a religious ceremony where his presence is required.
Citing the distance from Mumbai, Dwivedi said he should be exempted from appearance in court. He said he had booked tickets to come to Mumbai on June 13.
“It seems that accused number 10 (Dwivedi) did not want to attend court despite directions. It appears that without appearing before the court he wants to discharge his religious duties at various places. The grounds do not seem to be just, good or reasonable,” Special Judge V S Padalkar said.
He said if the accused does not remain present Friday, necessary orders will be passed against him. The court said that even previously, Dwivedi had sought exemption to attend a religious ceremony. “He is facing trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and it is his duty to remain present before court,” the judge said.
On Thursday, a bailable warrant was issued against a retired executive magistrate who was expected to appear before the court as a witness. Special Public Prosecutor Avinash Rasal informed the court that the witness was not reachable on his phone despite being informed about his deposition Thursday.
The judge said that officials of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) should ensure that witnesses are present before the court for evidence to save its time. “It is observed that till date on many occasions only one witness is brought before court. If such procedure is adopted by NIA, it is not possible for the court to decide the matter expeditiously as directed by the honourable Supreme Court,” the court said.