A special court in Mumbai granted exemption to 2008 Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sudhakar Chaturvedi from appearing before the court this week. While Thakur and Chaturvedi said they were “busy with Lok Sabha election results”, Purohit cited personal difficulties. Thakur is a BJP candidate from Bhopal and Chaturvedi is contesting from Mirzapur as an independent.
When the matter was taken up by the special NIA court on Monday, the three accused filed applications through their lawyers seeking exemption from appearance. The court allowed the applications.
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.
The court also allowed an application filed by lawyers of the accused persons to visit the blast site in Malegaon
Last week, the special NIA court, which is conducting a trial against seven accused in the case, had directed all of them to appear before it at least once a week. 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.