The First Additional Sessions Court in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh, on Wednesday acquitted Pragya Singh Thakur along with seven others in a murder case of Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) parcharak Sunil Joshi for lack of evidence.
The 49-page order is in Hindi, in which judge Rajeev M Apte said [translated]:
“For reasons not known to the court, the Industrial Area Police of Madhya Pradesh Police and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) appears prejudiced and have conducted a non-serious investigation in such a sensitive case like murder and have gathered weak and contradictory evidence. The evidence is inadequate to convict the accused.”
The court further observed: “The prosecution has failed to establish beyond doubt that the accused are guilty of charges of murder and other charges.”
Defence counsel Raghuveer Yardi said: “The court has not found sufficient evidence to convict the accused.”
Apart from Pragya, Harshad Solanki, Rajendra Chaudhri, Lokesh Sharma, Vasudev Parmar and Anand Raj Kataria were accused of committing Joshi’s murder. Ramcharan and Jeetendra were accused of destroying the possibly incriminating evidence, the order stated.
An FIR was registered against Pragya Singh Thakur, who is the prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, at the Industrial Area Police Station of Dewas on December 29, 2007. The high court ordered the investigation to be handed over to the NIA, which then concluded that there was no incriminating evidence against the accused.
Pragya’s bail is currently being argued before the Bombay High Court.
The trial court's observations in Thursday's order are significant as there has been much controversy over two contradictory stands taken by the Maharashtra ATS and the NIA regarding Pragya's role in the charge sheets filed by these two agencies before the Special Court, Mumbai.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.