Court rejects plea seeking cancellation of Pragya Singh Thakur’s candidature, says some ‘prima facie’ evidence against her

Mumbai: A special court on Wednesday slammed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for claiming to have no evidence against Pragya Thakur, the prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. The court said it had framed charges against Thakur only after it found some ‘prima facie’ evidence against her. Notably, this is the first time that the court has pulled up the NIA for exonerating Thakur after filing its chargesheet.

From May 2016, NIA has maintained it has no material to prosecute Thakur and thus, has been continuously giving ‘no objections’ to all her bail applications and also to her discharge plea. The special court lost its cool after perusing the reply of NIA, wherein the agency gave a no-objection to Thakur’s candidature from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, as it had already given her a clean chit in the case.

NIA had, in its reply, said it has no jurisdiction to deal with the issue of Thakur contesting parliamentary elections. Irked by this claim, special Judge VS Padalkar said, “You (NIA) claim to have no evidence against Thakur and thus you have given a clean chit. “How can you make such claims when this court has already proceeded with framing of charges against Thakur?

Let me clarify, the charges are framed only because there is some prima facie material against her,” the judge said. Meanwhile, the special judge dismissed a plea seeking restriction of Thakur from contesting parliamentary polls for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The court said, “This court does not have the jurisdiction to deal with such an issue.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) is the appropriate forum to look into the matter, thus the application stands dismissed.” The judge made the observations while dismissing the plea filed by Nisar Bilal, father of a boy who perished in the blasts with five others.

In his plea, Bilal highlighted the fact that Thakur, in her bail plea, had claimed she was infirm and could not walk without support, but at present, she is seen to be moving around. “Thakur got bail on health grounds but now she is clearly healthy enough to fight elections in the crippling summer heat, which means she has misguided the court,” the plea stated.

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