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Pragya Thakur Finally Makes Court Appearance, Says She Has No Knowledge of Malegaon Blast

This was Thakur's first appearance in court since she was elected from the Bhopal seat in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.

Radhika Ramaswamy | CNN-News18

Updated:June 7, 2019, 6:18 PM IST
Pragya Thakur Finally Makes Court Appearance, Says She Has No Knowledge of Malegaon Blast
BJP MP Pragya Thakur arrives at sessions court for the hearing of Malegaon blast case in Mumbai, Friday, June 7, 2019. (PTI Photo/Shashank Parade)

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Pragya Thakur told a special NIA court in Mumbai on Thursday that she has no knowledge of the 2008 Malegaon blast, in which she is an accused, ever having taken place.

Thakur, who made her first appearance in court since she was elected from the Bhopal seat in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, was asked by special judge VS Padalkar if she was aware of the details of the case. “Accused were not present on most of the days, therefore questions need to be put forward by the court,” judge Padalkar said. He asked Thakur, “116 witnesses have been examined by the court so far. Are you aware of this? Were you intimated by your lawyers about the witness examinations?” To this Thakur said, “I don’t know the exact details.”

The court then asked, “Do you know that a blast took place in Malegaon on September 29, 2008?” Thakur responded: “I have no knowledge of the blast.”

Thakur was among the seven facing trials over the blast that had claimed the lives of six people and injured more than 100. According to police, the motorbike that had been used in the blast had been registered in Thakur's name. This had also led to her arrest in 2008.

Thakur was finally granted bail by the Bombay High Court in 2017. The accused are facing trial under various sections of the UAPA, the Indian Penal Code and the Explosive Substances Act.

In May, the NIA court had directed all the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case to be present during the trial at least once a week as most of the accused did not attend the court proceedings. All the accused are out on bail.

Thakur’s lawyer had filed for exemption from appearing this week due to procedures she had to complete in Parliament. This application was rejected by the court earlier this week. Thakur’s lawyer sought an exemption from appearance on Thursday citing ill health and hospitalisation due to high BP after which the court warned of consequences and strict action if she fails to appear on Friday.

Thakur stirred a row on Thursday when she skipped her appearance citing her ill health but attended an event to pay tribute to Maharana Pratap.

After the court proceedings got over,Thakur who chose to stand throughout the proceedings, threw a fit and complained about the condition of the courtroom. She told her lawyers that the chairs and benches were not convenient for her owing to her health. Thakur also complained that there was dust in the room which would worsen her health.

However, special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal said, “No special facility is provided to any of the accused. If she had a problem, she should have openly told the judge."

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