The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court Wednesday rejected a plea to bar 2008 Malegaon blasts accused and BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya Thakur from contesting the Lok Sabha elections, citing that it is for the electoral officers to take a call on the matter.
“In the ongoing elections, the court does not have any legal powers to prohibit anyone from contesting the polls. It is the job of electoral officers to decide. This court cannot stop the accused number 1 from contesting the polls. This application is negated,” the court was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“At this juncture, the NIA cannot state that there is no prima facie case against the accused as the NIA has not challenged the order (rejecting discharge of the accused) before the high court,” it added.
The special NIA court’s response came after Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal, whose son Sayyed Azhar had died in the blast, urged it to prevent Thakur from contesting the polls since the trial is still in progress.
“She isn’t attending the court proceedings on grounds of ill-health but is campaigning for elections where she isn’t looking unwell,” the lawyer of the applicant had told the court.
Calling the plea “frivolous” and with “political agenda”, Thakur earlier said there was no provision under the law to bar her from contesting the polls.
Facing trial for her alleged role in the blast that left six dead and 101 injured in September 2008 in Malegoan, Thakur is currently out on bail. She has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for conspiring and abetting a terror act, and also faces charges ranging from murder to criminal conspiracy.
A Hindu hardliner, she has been fielded against Congress’s Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal which will go to polls on May 12.