26 Sep 2023 4:42 AM GMT
BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur appeared in the Special NIA Court on Monday in the 2008 Malegaon Blast Case, and along with other accused persons, sought advance copies of questions prepared by the judge to be put to them under Section 313 of the CrPC.Section 313 of the CrPC deals with the judge’s power to frame questions against an accused and seek an explanation based on the evidence led...
BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur appeared in the Special NIA Court on Monday in the 2008 Malegaon Blast Case, and along with other accused persons, sought advance copies of questions prepared by the judge to be put to them under Section 313 of the CrPC.
Section 313 of the CrPC deals with the judge’s power to frame questions against an accused and seek an explanation based on the evidence led against the accused during a criminal trial.
“Why was the accused not present when I was showing the draft? Under what provision does the accused have the right to a copy of the 313 questions?” Special Judge AK Lahoti asked the defense and directed NIA to respond to the application.
On Monday, Thakur further cited her “ill health” as the reason for inability to wake up and come to court in the morning when the Judge directed all seven accused to remain present in court from October 3, 2023 at 11am.
Thakur arrived at 2pm despite court’s working hours beginning from 11am. Anyhow, the judge agreed to consider her request.
Thakur and six others are accused under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and IPC regarding the 2008 Malegaon Blast which resulted in six deaths and left over a 100 people injured. The LML Freedom Motorcycle used in the blast was registered in Thakur’s name.
On September 14, 2023 the prosecution closed its evidence after the examination of 323 witnesses. The matter was kept for recording of accused statements under section 313 of the CrPC on Monday after Thakur sought accommodation owing to her duties as an MP.
On Monday advocate Prashant Maggu said the defense filed the application seeking advance copies of the of the questions as all the accused are not conversant with Marathi and to save time.
While their application mentioned getting a copy of the questions, Maggu said the defense could take a look at the questions and suggest modifications. He further submitted that all the accused would be filing their written statement. Having these questions in advance would help them draft the statements, he added.
Advocate Ranjeet Sangle for a co-accused said that under Section 313, there was no prescribed format for answering questions put forth by the court.
“It will give the accused sufficient time to understand the questions and its implications. Since we could not assist the court in framing the questions, we want to assist the court in answering the questions,” they argued.
They cited section 313(5) which states that the Court may take help of the prosecutor and defence counsel in preparing relevant questions which are to be put to the accused and the Court may permit filing of written statement by the accused as sufficient compliance of this section.
The court asked NIA to file a reply and kept the matter for hearing on September 29, 2023.
Meanwhile, the court also issued a bailable warrant against accused Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi for remaining absent from the hearing. He claims to be a Shankaracharya and said he couldn’t be present due to Chaturmas (religious event) from June to September.
The court then directed all the accused to remain present October 3 onwards.
However, Thakur, who was allowed to sit on a chair next to the accused box said that she was unable to get up from the bed in the morning despite travelling specially for the hearing.
“Aage bhi subha nahi uth paungi (won’t be able to wake up early),” she said and requested for her to be examined towards the end. The court said it would accommodate her and adjourned the matter for hearing to October 3, 2023.