Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of the Parliament (MP) from Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur, who has been facing trial in the 2008 Malegaon Blast case, made her appearance before the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Monday after the court had last month given her a “last chance” to appear before it on January 4.
She had given the court’s order to appear before it a miss two times in the last month. After the new judge PR Sitre had taken charge, he had expressed that he had not seen the accused even once and wanted them all present. The court is a special court to conduct the Malegaon Blast trial as per an apex court order.
In early December, judge Sitre had directed that all the accused must be present before the court on the next date, December 3. On that date, Thakur as well as four other co-accused, out of the seven, had not remained present. Thakur’s lawyer had told the court that it was a very short notice for her to be able to come from Delhi amongst the COVID-19 travel restrictions prevailing at the time for flight travel between the two metropolitan cities. Her lawyers had told the court that she would be present on December 19.
On December 19, they informed the court that she was unwell and admitted to AIIMS, Delhi. The NIA had told the court that she was attending to normal duties till December 17 and had now suddenly been hospitalised. It seemed she was trying to avoid attending court, the agency had added. It had said then that, in view of the hospitalisation, she could be exempted, but action would be taken against her if she does not appear on January 4 as requested by her advocates.
In its order on December 19, the court had said that it appears she had organised a Sabha at Sehore, Madhya Pradesh on December 14. It, however, considered the hospital document produced by her advocates, which showed that she was admitted for treatment. “Considering the facts, the application is allowed, giving a last chance for the applicant for appearance,” judge Sitre had said.
In the blast that had taken place on September 29, 2008, in Malegaon, six persons had been killed and 101 injured.