Dewas: Dewas Court on Wednesday acquitted Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, along with seven other accused in connection with former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ‘pracharak’ Sunil Joshi murder case on ground for lack of evidence, said defence counsel Raghuveer Yardi.
Court of first additional district and sessions judge Rajiv M Apte acquitted Thakur, with Harsh Solanki, Vasudev Parmar, Ramcharan Patel, Anandraj Kataria, Lokesh Sharma, Rajendra Choudhary and Jitendra Sharma, saying there was not enough evidence against the accused to nail them in the murder.
Thakur, who is undergoing treatment in a Bhopal hospital and currently imprisoned at Bhopal Central Jail under judicial custody, was not present in the court when the judgment was pronounced.
The other accused Lokesh Sharma and Rajendra Chaudhary are in jail in Haryana’s Panchkula in connection with the Samjhauta blast case. Another accused Harshad is also in jail in connection with another case.
The other four accused Jitendra Sharma, Ramcharan Patel, Vasudev Parmar and Anandraj Kataria are out on bail. Joshi, a close associate of Sadhvi Pragya, was shot dead on December 29, 2007, when he was walking back to his hideout at Chuna Khadan locality in Dewas. The former RSS pracharak was on the run for his alleged role in the murder of a tribal Congress leader. He was also allegedly involved in both the Malegaon and Samjhauta blast cases.
Initially, the probe had hit a dead-end, but later arrest of a person in Rajasthan led the district police to name Pragya and others as accused in the case.
The trial from the district court was shifted to the Special NIA Court in Bhopal a few years ago. However, the matter was shifted back to the district court on the ground it was a murder case and doesn’t come under the ambit of NIA, which is an anti-terror agency.
In 2015, second additional sessions judge Rajendra Kumar Verma had framed the charges under Section 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Vasudev Parmar and Anand Raj Kataria.
The court also framed charges under Sections 120 (B) and 302 (murder) of the IPC against other accused — Harshad Solanki, Lokesh Sharma, Rajendra Chaudhary, Ram Chandra Patel and Jitendra Sharma.
Status of all eight accused
Pragya Thakur undergoing treatment in a Bhopal hospital under judicial custody and currently imprisoned at Bhopal Central Jail.
Lokesh Sharma and Rajendra Chaudhary are in jail in Haryana’s Panchkula in connection with the Samjhauta blast case. Another accused Harshad is also in jail in connection with another case. The other four accused Jitendra Sharma, Ramcharan Patel, Vasudev Parmar and Anandraj Kataria are out on bail.