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NIA court rejects plea to ban Pragya Thakur from contesting LS poll, says electoral officers should decide

Malegaon blast accused Thakur, who is currently out on bail, is contesting the Lok Sabha poll from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh on the BJP's ticket.

Published: 24th April 2019 04:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th April 2019 06:04 PM   |  A+A-

2008 Malegaon blast case key accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur (File Photo | PTI)

By PTI

MUMBAI:PTI) A special NIA court here on Wednesday rejected the application filed by the father of one of the victims of the 2008 Malegaon blast case seeking to bar BJP leader Pragya Singh Thakur from contesting the Lok Sabha election.

Malegaon blast accused Thakur, who is currently out on bail, is contesting the Lok Sabha poll from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh on the BJP's ticket.

Nisar Sayyad, who lost his son in the blast, moved the court last week, urging it to bar Thakur from contesting the election after the BJP fielded her from Bhopal, where she is locked in a battle with Congress veteran Digvijay Singh.

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He also mentioned in his plea that a petition seeking cancellation of her bail was pending before the Supreme Court.

Rejecting his application, Special judge for National Investigation Agency (NIA) cases V S Padalkar said lawyers were well aware that this was not the proper forum (for the plea).

"This court has not granted bail. wrong forum has been chosen," he said.

The special judge went on to say, "In present ongoing elections this court does not have any legal powers to prohibit anyone from contesting elections. It is the job of the electoral officers to decide. This court can't stop the accused from contesting elections. This application is negated by this court."

Thakur's lawyer J P Mishra submitted before the court on Wednesday that she was fighting the election for the "cause of ideology and for the "sake of the nation".

"She is contesting the election to condemn people who say there is Hindu terrorism," Mishra said.

Sayyad, in his application, said Thakur got bail on health grounds.

If she is "healthy enough to fight elections in the crippling summers heat", then she has misled the court, the complainant alleged.

Responding to it, Mishra said, "Thakur has not misled the court.

After the court's order (on bail), she underwent an operation and was unable to walk in 2016.

Her condition has improved now, but she has not fully recovered." The lawyer said Thakur is contesting the poll, attending meetings and campaigning, but a doctor is always present with her where she goes.

He also submitted that Thakur did not get bail only on medical grounds, but also on merit.

Six people were killed and over 100 injured in a bomb blast at Malegaon, a communally sensitive textile town in north Maharashtra's Nashik district, on September 29, 2008.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested Thakur and others in the case, alleging they were part of a Hindu extremist group which carried out the blast.

The NIA later gave Thakur a clean chit, but the court did not discharge Thakur.

It dropped charges against her under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), but she is still facing trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Indian Penal Code sections.

 

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