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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Court rejects plea seeking to bar Pragya Thakur from contesting poll

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.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2019 23:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Mumbai
Pragya Thakur,Lok Sabha elections,NIA
“She is contesting the election to condemn people who say there is Hindu terrorism,” Thakur’s lawyer J P Mishra said.(PTI File)

A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Wednesday rejected an application filed by a 59-year-old resident who lost his son in the 2008 Malegaon blasts seeking to bar Pragya Singh Thakur, one of the suspects in the case, from contesting the Lok Sabha elections.

Special NIA judge VS Padalkar, dismissing the application filed by Sayyed Nisar Ahmed, said in his ruling that the court was not the appropriate forum to hear the plea.

“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,” the judge ruled.

Thakur is out on bail in the Malegaon blasts case, in which six people were killed. She has been picked by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as its candidate for the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat being contested by senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.

The court also rebuked the NIA for stating that there was no prima facie evidence against Thakur. The NIA, in its reply to the plea, said that in its supplementary charge sheet it had stated that the charges against Thakur and five other accused were not maintainable as the agency found no evidence against them.

The court observed that the NIA could not say there was no prima facie evidence against Thakur given that it had not challenged an order rejecting her discharge from the case.

The special judge passed his order on Wednesday after hearing Sayyed and Thakur’s lawyer. On Wednesday Sayyed’s lawyer Hetali Sheth submitted that her client was not objecting to Thakur contesting the election but to false statements made before the court while seeking exemption from appearing in the Malegaon case proceedings.

Sayyed’s lawyer pointed out that during several occasions Thakur had sought exemption from appearing in court on health grounds. The plea was opposed by Thakur’s lawyers Prashant Magghu and JP Mishra, who argued that she had been unwell and not misled the court in any way. The defence lawyers alleged that the application had been moved with political motives and demanded that it be dismissed.

First Published: Apr 24, 2019 16:31 IST