Nagpur: The Bombay High Court, on Tuesday, while hearing the bail appeal of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur arrested in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, virtually has put the matter to an acid test to ascertain the truth about the involvement of Sadhvi in certain alleged meetings. The matter has otherwise almost concluded in hearing, with the High Court passing order calling for said VCDs and directing Registry to make arrangements for viewing the footage on the next date, i.e. February 7, 2017.
Sadhvi was represented by Senior Advocate Avinash Gupta & Advocates Aakash Gupta , V S Uberoi and S. Diwani.
The bail matter of Sadhvi was listed for today (31.1.17) first on board before the Division Bench of Justices Ranjit More and S. Joshi Phansalkar.
Both the Justices said that after having heard counsels for both the parties, we are of the opinion that viewing of VCDs would be essential to arrive at just and proper decision in the aforesaid appeal. Registry is directed to make necessary arrangement for viewing the said VCDs on the next date of hearing i.e February 7, 2017 at 3 pm.
In the last hearing held on January 12, 2017, the Bombay High Court heard the appeal for bail filed by Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, arrested in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. The High Court heard the matter for almost the entire day giving a patient audience to the in-depth and meticulous arguments advanced by the Appellant’s counsel Senior Advocate Avinash Gupta. The highlight of proceedings was the statements recorded by ATS Mumbai, which implicated Sadhvi Pragya and others and later the very same witnesses retracted their statements and even deposed before Magistrate courts as to how they were put under duress by ATS to depose falsely against certain people including Sadhvi Pragya. The In a rather shocking and sensational revelation, the appellant also produced copies of two complaint cases filed by 2 prime witnesses in this case against ATS officers including late Hemant Karkare which records severe torture and threats given to them for deposing falsely in their previous statements.
The Appellant also demonstrated from the record how she was not in control or possession of the vehicle involved in the blast by Investigation papers.
Thakur moved the high court after the special court -NIA cases denied her bail on June 28. Thakur was given a clean chit by the NIA earlier this year, but the trial court refused her bail.
Her petition in the high court said the lower court had failed to take into consideration the change in circumstances. In November 2015, the special court denied her bail, holding that prima facie there was some evidence against her.
But in May, NIA filed a fresh charge sheet (after taking over the case from Maharashtra ATS), which gave a clean chit to Thakur and others.
Lawyers on behalf of Sadhvi Pragya opened their arguments and pressed that the vehicle involved in the blast was already sold by the applicant Pragya years ago to another accused Ramji. The Investigation conducted by ATS Mumbai as well as NIA support this circumstance and the Investigating agencies have recorded statements of various witnesses including the Garage owner who serviced the vehicle regularly.
Record of the garage which was seized by the ATS also supports this version.Thus, the applicant contends that there was no material evidence against her. NIA’s counsel have already told the high court that the agency had concluded that charges against her could not be substantiated, and the earlier charge sheet filed by ATS was erroneous.
Earlier the High Court had posed that “This is an odd case where the prosecution has no objections and yet the accused is denied bail and kept behind the bars,” the bench observed, seeking copies of both the charge sheets and the special court’s orders denying her bail.
Six persons died and 100 were injured in the bomb blast at Malegaon, a predominantly Muslim town in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.