Pragya Singh Thakur
Pragya Singh Thakur
(File Photo/AFP)

BJP MP from Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur did not appear before the court conducting trial in the Malegaon blast case citing short notice to travel from Delhi to Mumbai during the pandemic.

The special court designated to conduct the case had on December 1- the day that courts started regular functioning, directed all seven accused in the case to be present before it on December 3.

Thakur’s advocate Prashant Maggu on Thursday told the court that with only a day’s notice it was not possible for Thakur to make it from Delhi as a RT-PCR negative report is required to take a flight from Delhi to the city.

Now, an RT-PCR negative report is required for people travelling from Delhi as well as Rajasthan, Goa and Gujarat as per the new travel requirements brought in by the Maharashtra government in the last week of November. However, as per a statement from the Mumbai Airport, those who do not carry a negative report while boarding a flight from these locations can get tested at the Mumbai Airport on arrival at the test zone created for the purpose before exiting the airport.

On Thursday, only three accused - Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit, Sameer Kulkarni and Ajay Rahilkar remained present before special judge PR Sitre. Special Public Prosecutor Avinash Rasal said that upon an undertaking by advocates of all accused that their clients will remain present given adequate notice, the court has now directed all the accused to remain present before it on 19 December.

Evidence of the witness, who is a panch concerned with the panchnama of the spot of the blast, was not recorded on Thursday. The chief examination had already been completed earlier. Since he hails from Malegaon and incurred expenses to remain present before the court, advocates for five accused who did not cross-examine him, were directed to jointly pay a total of Rs. 2,000 for his expenses.

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