PRAGYA SINGH Thakur on Monday sought exemption from appearing before the court this week in the 2008 Malegaon blast case trial, stating that she is “busy with Lok Sabha election results”.
Thakur, who is contesting on a BJP ticket from Bhopal, is one of the seven accused in the case, whom the court had directed to remain present before it at least once a week in an order passed earlier on Friday.
Through her advocates J P Mishra and Prashant Maggu, Thakur submitted an exemption application before the court stating that as a Lok Sabha candidate, she would have to fulfil certain procedures of the Election Commission of India, including nominating her agents for counting of votes in her constituency on May 23. She submitted that this has to be completed by May 22, and said she would also be busy on the counting day and the next day as well as the counting may continue till late hours.
Thakur sought exemption from appearing before the court between May 20 and 24.
Sudhakar Chaturvedi, another accused in the case, who is contesting the elections from Mirzapur constituency in Uttar Pradesh as an Independent candidate, has also sought exemption for a day.
Lt Col Prasad Purohit also sought exemption citing personal difficulty to appear before the court on Monday.
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The court allowed the exemption applications. While directing each of the accused to remain present before it at least once a week, it had earlier said that exemption can be granted if cogent reasons were submitted.
On Monday, the prosecution examined two witnesses, including an advocate, who was among the 101 people injured in the blast, and a daily labourer, whose 24-year-old cousin was among the six killed. The labourer had been handed over his cousin’s body from the hospital after post-mortem.
Earlier, Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi, one of the accused in the case, had denied that there was a blast and had sought for examination of injured and those witnesses pertaining to the post-mortem and other procedures of the deceased, in a bid to disprove that their injuries and deaths had been caused in the blast in Malegaon on September 28, 2008.
The hearing in the case has now been adjourned till June 3.
Meanwhile, defence advocates also filed an application seeking permission to visit the blast site in Bhiku Chowk in Malegaon. The application, filed by Thakur’s advocates and supported by the other accused, said that since they will cross-examine witnesses pertaining to the blast spot — including the complainant, a policeman who had filed the FIR, and independent witnesses who conducted the spot panchnama of the place —they should be allowed to visit the place for perspective. They have also sought police protection, citing that the place is a crowded area.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has opposed the plea stating that it was not tenable in law.
The court, however, admitted the plea and directed the superintendent of Nashik to make arrangements for the protection to the advocates, who visit the spot. The court also directed the accused to bear the cost of the police arrangements.