BJP MP Pragya Singh Denies Knowledge Of Malegaon Blasts At NIA Court Hearing
Malegaon 2008 blast accused and BJP's Member of Parliament from Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur appeared before the Special NIA Court in Mumbai today at around 12:45 pm.
She was absent in the previous court hearings citing health reasons.
Special NIA Court is currently recording the testimony of all the witnesses in the case.
Judge VS Padalkar called Thakur to the witness stand exercising powers under Section 313(1)(a) and asked : "Do you know how many witnesses have been examined by the prosecution? Has your lawyer told you?"
Pragya: No, I do not know.
Court: 116 witnesses have been examined and it has been established that a blast took place. I am not asking you who did it. Do you know a blast took place on September 29, 2008?
Pragya: No, I do not know.
During this questioning, Pragya kept standing even though she was offered a seat. Her supporters had even put a red velvet cloth on the bench meant for accused. However she refused to sit.
Once the hearing was over and judge Padalkar left the courtroom, the newly elected MP raised her voice and said that the chair offered to her was dirty. She said that a proper chair should have been provided and that she had every right to sit comfortably until she is proven guilty.
On Monday, the special court had rejected Thakur's application seeking exemption from appearance before the court this week. She had stated in the application that she needed to complete some formalities regarding her election to Parliament, but the court said her presence is necessary at this stage in the case.
Pragya's advocate Prashant Magoo told the Court she is suffering from high blood pressure and is unable to travel to Mumbai from Bhopal. Court granted the exemption but directed her to appear on Friday or else "face the consequences."
What are the charges against Pragya?
The National Investigation Agency had dropped all charges against Pragya under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in their charge sheet after taking over the investigation in 2011 from Maharashtra ATS. The ATS had stated in its charge sheet that Pragya's motorcycle was used in the blast that killed six and injured 101 persons.
This has been refuted by the NIA in its charge sheet for lack of evidence. Instead, it has been stated that although the bike was in her name, it was used by an accused, who is absconding.
However, Special NIA Court framed charges against all the accused including Pragya and Lt. Col Prasad Purohit. They have been charged with murder, attempt to murder, voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means, promoting enmity between different groups and punishment of criminal conspiracy. Under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the accused have been charged under Section 3 (punishment for causing explosion likely to endanger life or property), Section 4 (punishment for attempt to cause explosion), Section 5 (punishment for making or possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances), Section 6 (punishment of abettors) of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and relevant sections of the Arms Act.