Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Malegaon blast victim’s father challenges Pragya Thakur’s candidature
A day after the BJP announced the candidature of Pragya Singh Thakur, accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast, against Congress stalwart and former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal, a 59-year-old man who lost his son in the blast has asked the special NIA court on Thursday to bar Thakur from contesting.
Thakur, who is facing charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), is standing trial along with four others, including Major Ramesh Upadhyay and Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit.
Sayyed Nisar Ahmed approached the court through advocates Sharif Shaikh and Shahid Nadeem, stating that Pragya “may be asked to attend court proceeding here in Mumbai and barred to contest the election as trial is still in progress.”
Many have criticised Thakur’s nomination as she is facing terror charges in the blast that killed six people. Among the victims were Ahmed’s son Azhar. Azhar was killed when the blasts ripped through Bhikku Chowk in September 2008.
Ahmed stated that while Thakur was granted bail on grounds of her health conditions, “she has been seen participating in various programmes and giving objectionable and instigating speeches since her release from jail.” Thakur, the application states, “had filed a written statement in support of her health and claimed that, she cannot even walk without support.” Ahmed further said in his application that she is “clearly healthy enough to fight elections in the crippling summer heat, which means she has misguided the court.” The court has directed Thakur and NIA to file a reply to the submitted application.
The NIA charge-sheet had exonerated her of all charges, saying that no evidence against her existed, but the court did not acquit her of all charges. While the special court dropped the MCOC charges against the accused, the five people including Thakur continue to face trial under UAPA. In 2017, the Bombay high court granted her bail after she submitted that she has breast cancer.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) led by late IPS officer Hemant Karkare had arrested Thakur in 2008. The case was cracked after the forensic science laboratory was able to restore the engine number of the motorcycle, used in the blasts, registered in the name of Thakur. The NIA charge-sheet had stated that there is not enough evidence to prosecute Thakur as all the witnesses have retracted their confessions.
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