A day after the BJP announced the candidature of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur for the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, the father of one of the six persons killed in the 2008 Malegaon blast moved the special NIA court in Mumbai Thursday, urging it to bar Thakur, a key accused in the case, from contesting the election since the trial is still in progress. Special Judge V S Padalkar directed Thakur, who is out on bail, to file a reply to the application of Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal whose son Sayyed Azhar died in the blast.
The 59-year-old who had intervened in the case, opposing Thakur’s bail as well as her discharge plea, said since the NIA had nothing to say against Thakur, it was his duty to “inform the court about this development which hurt the bomb blast victims massively”.
“That the intervener respectfully prays that accused number 1 (Thakur) may be asked to attend court proceedings here in Mumbai and barred to contest the election as trial is still in progress and petition of cancellation of bail is sub-judice before the Honourable Supreme Court,” Bilal’s plea stated.
He had filed a petition before the Supreme Court for cancellation of Thakur’s bail, and notice was issued to her in July last year.
In his plea, filed through advocate Shahid Nadeem, Bilal said Thakur filed a written statement before the Bombay High Court, which granted her bail on April 25, 2017, stating that she cannot even walk without support. He said she is “clearly healthy enough to fight elections in the crippling summer heat”, and that she has “misguided” the court.
The High Court had said that she had been in custody for more than eight years and that her medical certificate annexed to the petition and written submissions showed that she was suffering from breast cancer.
“The medical report of the Appellant (Thakur) indicates that she has become infirm and cannot even walk without support. The medical certificate further shows that Appellant is being given treatment in Ayurvedic hospital. In our opinion, Ayurvedic Hospital cannot give proper treatment to the Appellant, who is suffering from cancer,” the High Court had said.
The High Court said it was taking “totality of facts and circumstances of the case” in deciding that she should be granted bail. Among the conditions set by the High Court was one that required her to be present at the time of hearing of the case before the special court.
Bilal’s plea claims she “has taken a casual outlook to the trial and that it casts serious doubts on her non-availability for the trial”.
Currently, none of the accused have been attending the hearing, having sought exemption on the ground that they have to travel far and that they have no-objection to the recording of evidence in their absence.
Advocate Ranjeet Sangle, representing Thakur, said: “She had sought an exemption on the ground from the special court that it will be difficult for her to travel from Bhopal on regular basis as the trial is proceeding on a daily basis. Besides, the current recording of evidence of injured witnesses is admitted by her, and thus does not require her presence.”
He said Thakur will remain present before the court whenever it directs that her presence is required. She last attended court on the day of the framing of charges against her and others on October 30 last year.