Despite the special court in Mumbai rejecting its clean chit to Pragya Singh Thakur and framing charges against her in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, the NIA, which is required to lead the evidence as the prosecution agency, told the court Tuesday that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute Thakur.
The NIA reiterated its stand in response to an application filed by Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal whose son Sayyed Azhar died in the blast that killed six and injured 101 people.Bilal has urged the court to bar Thakur, one of the key accused in the case, from contesting the Lok Sabha elections since the trial is still in progress. She has been named the BJP candidate from Bhopal.
The NIA said it had no comments to offer on the plea against Thakur’s candidature. “This matter is related to election and Election Commission. NIA has no jurisdiction to say anything on this matter because the matter of contesting in elections is not related to this case. It is to be decided by the Election Commission only. Hence, no comments are offered,” it said.
“However, it is pertinent to mention that in the supplementary chargesheet dated May 13, 2016 filed by the NIA, NIA has recommended prosecution against 10 accused persons, and also recommended that the evidences against accused persons namely, Pragya Singh Thakur (and five others) have not been found sufficient… prosecution against them is not maintainable,” the agency informed the court. Click here for more election news
Special Public Prosecutor Avinash Rasal said the paragraph on the clean chit to Thakur was added as part of the case background. Asked why the fact that charges had been framed against her did not find mention in the NIA reply, Rasal said that as prosecutor, he shall be leading evidence against her in the ongoing trial.
Once a final report filed by a prosecution agency against the accused is not accepted by a court, it is the duty of the agency to lead all evidence against the person.
Meanwhile, Thakur, who is facing trial under IPC sections on murder, criminal conspiracy and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, has opposed Bilal’s plea, calling it “frivolous” and one with “political agenda”.
In her reply, Thakur said there is no provision under the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which disqualifies her from contesting elections while a case is pending against her. Her reply said that as per election rules, a candidate has to submit an affidavit disclosing pending cases and cases in which there has been conviction. She said this clearly shows that there is no bar on contesting elections while a case is pending against a candidate.
With Bilal pointing out that she had been granted bail on health grounds, Thakur clarified it was not the only ground considered by the Bombay High Court while granting her bail on April 25, 2017. “Further, it is submitted that after her release from jail, she has been taking ayurvedic medical treatment at Bangalore, Lucknow and she is still continuing the ayurvedic treatment in Bhopal,” her reply stated.
She said that after she was granted bail, she was operated upon at the Ram Manohar Lohia Medical Institute, Lucknow for the “ailment of breast cancer”.
In his plea, Bilal claimed that she had misguided the court by claiming that she could not walk without support but was “clearly healthy enough to fight elections in the crippling summer heat”. Thakur’s reply, filed through advocates J P Mishra and Prashant Maggu, said it is true that she could not walk without support at that point, but “after her release from jail, there is a lot of improvement in her health, but lots of things are to be improved”.
Special Judge V S Padalkar will hear arguments on the plea Wednesday.