Sadhvi says no evidence against her, seeks bail

The Asian Age.

Metros, Mumbai

The Anti-Terrorism Squad had arrested and chargesheeted Sadhvi and other accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts.

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur said the NIA has given her a clean chit in the Malegaon blasts case.

Mumbai: Claiming that there was no material on record to show her involvement in the 2008 Malegaon blasts and that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has already given her a clean chit, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, one of the accused in the case has sought bail from the Bombay high court. The arguments of her lawyer concluded on Thursday, after which the court asked NIA to file its reply next week.

The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had arrested and chargesheeted Sadhvi and other accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case and the case was later transferred to NIA for further investigation. Though NIA filed chargesheet in the case, it did not include Sadhvi’s name in the chargesheet. According to NIA, it re-recorded statements of some witnesses who had indicted Sadhvi in their earlier statement but in newly recorded accounts they retracted from their earlier testimonies.

Sadhvi’s lawyer Akash Gupta pointed out the same before a division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi. He said that apart from the above circumstances, his client was a woman and has been held in custody for the last eight years. He said she was also suffering from cancer, and urged the court to grant her bail.

In November 2015, following an order of the Apex Court, Sadhvi had filed a bail plea before the special NIA court, which was rejected after the court held that there existed prima facie evidence against her. However, in May 2016, NIA filed a chargesheet in the case, absolving Sadhvi of all charges. NIA also dropped the stringent charge of MCOCA against all accused.

The NIA court had rejected the bail plea, observing that acceptance of statements of witnesses is the matter of trial. The trial judge had also noted that in the past the same agency had opposed Sadhvi’s bail plea despite having the same material in its hand for reasons best known to it. After hearing arguments the court adjourned hearing on the bail application till January 19.