Mumbai / Nagpur: Hearing the bail application of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, arrested in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, the Bombay High Court today directed that the statements of witnesses be produced on the next date for further consideration.Although papers of the case were called by a previous order, it was observed that the copies were incomplete and illegible at many places.
Thakur moved the high court after the special court for Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act cases denied her bail on June 28.
The division bench of Justices Ranjit More and S. Joshi Phansalkar asked the defence counsels to submit a compilation of all the statements of the witnesses pertaining to the case.
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.
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.
The matter is now posted for 16th of December 2016 for further hearing, when all the parties including the intervenors- victims of the blast shall be heard.
Senior Counsel Avinash Gupta assisted by Advocates Aakash Gupta & S. Devani appeared for the applicant.