MUMBAI: The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court hearing the 2008 Malegaon blast case here on Monday rejected the plea of newly-elected Bhopal MP Pragya Singh Thakur for exemption from appearance in the court.
Thakur had sought an exemption to appear before the court between June 3 and 7 due to completion of Parliament procedures. However, the court directed the 2008 blasts accused and BJP’s newly-elected MP from Bhopal to remain present for the hearing this week.
Special NIA Judge V S Padalkar rejected Thakur’s application saying her presence in the court is necessary at this stage.
“Grounds shown in the exemption application like to complete process of elections, enrolment and other factors cannot be accepted at all as time and again, the accused person (Thakur) has undertaken to remain present before this court but fails to do so,” the court said.
“Now material witnesses are being called by the prosecution to adduce their evidence to prove their case against the accused persons. Hence, the presence of accused persons is certainly necessary,” the court added.
The court also added that the apex court has, in several orders in the past, emphasised the need for lower courts to decide matters where political leaders are involved expeditiously.
In May this year, the court, which is conducting a trial against seven accused in the case, directed all of them to appear before it at least once a week. It then said an exemption would be granted if cogent reasons were submitted.
The court had, two weeks ago, granted Thakur and two other accused — Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sudhakar Chaturvedi — exemption for a week.
Besides these three, the other accused in the case are Major (retired) Ramesh Upadhyay, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Sameer Kulkarni, all of whom are out on bail.
Six people were killed and over 100 injured on September 29, 2008, when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon.
The accused are facing trial under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Indian Penal Code and currently, the court is recording the testimony of witnesses.