A young sadhvi suspected to have links with a Hindu right wing group and two other men were slapped with murder charges on Friday after they were arrested for their alleged involvement in the Malegaon blasts in which the police said the deadly RDX was used.
Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur along with Shamlal Sahu and Shivnarayan Singh, all hailing from Madhya Pradesh, were produced before a court in Nashik in Maharashtra which remanded them to police custody till November 3.
Public Prosecutor Ajay Mishra said the crime committed by the three accused was a ‘serious offence’ and they were booked under charges of murder, attempt to murder and voluntarily causing grievous hurt under IPC Sections 302, 307 and 326 respectively.
The sadhvi, who is based in Indore but who regularly visited Surat to give lectures, was picked up from the diamond town in Gujarat by the Anti Terrorist Squad of the Mumbai police. Shamlal Sahu and Shivnarayan Singh were brought from Indore in MP for questioning in Mumbai. The arrests were made in the last one week.
Mishra said the motorcyle used in the Malegaon blasts on September 29 in which five persons were killed belonged to the Sadhvi. Besides having links with the BJP’s student wing ABVP, she is suspected to be associated with the Indore-based radical Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) accused of involvement in the blasts in Malegaon as well as in Modasa in Gujarat in which one person was killed. The right-wing outfit has denied the charge.
Mishra claimed that following the Malegaon blasts the Sadhvi, who also is believed to be a member of Surat-based Vande Mataram Sanghatan, had several telephone conversations–all lasting ‘400 minutes.’
Mishra said that forensic reports have shown that the RDX was used in the Malegaon blasts.
Sadhvi cannot be involved in such crime, says her father
Surat, October 24:
The father of Sadhvi Pragna Singh, who was arrested for alleged involvement in Malegaon blasts, today said he does not believe her daughter would be involved in such a crime.
“She is a very sensitive person and cannot bear injustice. I cannot believe that she is involved in any such thing,” Chandrapal Singh said at his house in Punagam area of the city.
“Since childhood, she had inclination for spiritual side of life. She became a Sadhvi two years ago and the family has lost contact with her since then,” Singh, who migrated to Surat six years ago from Gwailor in Madhya Pradesh, said.
“If the justice system in India is not guided by political considerations, then there is hope for her getting justice,” Singh said.
Singh, who is an ayurveda practitioner, said she is associated with an organisation called ‘Jai Vande Matram’ and used to travel to different parts of the country.
“Her name after she became a monk was Sadhvi Purnachetnagiri (36),” he said.
Mumbai ATS arrested her in connection with the Malegaon blasts. She was picked up from near Mahidarpura area of Surat by the police six to seven days ago.
Earlier, she was associated with Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of BJP.
“She was a member of our national executive council in 1996-97. After 1997, she was not been associated with the ABVP,” ABVP state secretary Kunal Shah said.