Mumbai: After spending more than eight years in prison, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, the prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, will finally walk out of the judicial hospital. This comes after the Bombay High Court decision to grant her bail on Tuesday. The HC has also imposed certain restrictions on Sadhvi including that she will have to remain present during the case hearing in special court.
A division bench presided over by Justice Ranjit More and Justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi allowed Sadhvi’s bail plea on the surety of Rs 5 lakh. The bench was hearing Sadhvi’s plea challenging the special National Investigations Agency (NIA) court’s orders that denied her bail.
The bench considered the fact that she is a ‘woman’ and has been in custody for more than eight years. The bench also took into consideration the fact that Sadhvi has been suffering from breast cancer and has become ‘infirm’ to the extent that she cannot walk without support.
The bench also scrutinised the material placed before it and especially the evidence pertaining to the motorcycle, which admittedly was registered in Sadhvi’s name. The bench held that there was ‘enough doubt’ about the motorcycle that was found at the spot of incident. “Even assuming the said motorcycle was found at the place of the incident, the fact that Sadhvi is the registered owner of it by itself cannot be sufficient in the light of material on record brought by the prosecution itself,” the bench said.
The bench also held a contrary view to the special NIA court that had observed that it cannot ‘ignore’ the fact that the motorcycle was registered in Sadhvi’s name. “We find that this is not the defence of Sadhvi but these facts are borne out from the material collected by the ATS itself,” the bench said.
While allowing the plea, the bench said, “Taking into consideration the totality of the facts and circumstances of this case, we are of the considered opinion that the Appellant (Sadhvi) has made out a case for bail.”
Restrictions imposed on Sadhvi –
- She will have to deposit her passport with the special NIA court.
- She will have to report to the NIA as and when required.
- She will have to remain present at the time of hearing of the case before the special NIA court.
- She will not tamper the evidence or prosecution witnesses.