Plea to bar Sadhvi Pragya from contesting Lok Sabha poll
A day after the prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, was named as the BJP candidate for the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, a man who lost his son in the terror attack filed an application before the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court seeking a direction to stop her from contesting.Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal, 59, father of Sayyed Azhar Nisar Ahmed, who died in the blast on September 29, 2008, said in his plea on Thursday, “Pragya should be restricted from contesting in the parliamentary election as she is facing trial for a terrorist act and a petition challenging her bail is pending before the Supreme Court.”Special NIA cases judge V.S. Padalkar sought replies from both the NIA and Pragya and posted the matter for Monday.Mr. Bilal had earlier also filed a petition before the Bombay High Court as an intervenor opposing Pragya’s bail.In his plea before the NIA court, he said, “She was enlarged on conditional bail and she is not attending hearing of this court on the pretext that she is unwell and has ‘breast cancer’ but on the contrary she has been seen participating in various programmes and giving objectionable and instigating speeches since her release from jail.”He said she has taken a casual approach to the trial and it cast serious doubts on her non-availability.Mr. Bilal pointed out that Pragya’s submission to the HC claimed, “she has become infirm and cannot walk without support.”He said that while granting bail, the HC had imposed certain conditions on her but they had not been followed.The application mentioned that he had filed a petition before the Supreme Court for cancellation of her bail and notices were issued in the matter on July 20, 2018. It also noted that she got a clean chit from NIA but the NIA court had not exonerated her.On October 30, 2018 charges were framed against her which implied that there was prima facie material against her which may result in conviction.He urged the court to direct her to attend the ongoing trial and bar her from contesting the elections as the trial is in progress.Six people were killed and over 100 injured in two blasts at Malegaon, a communally sensitive textile town in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested Pragya and others in the case, alleging that they were part of a Hindutva extremist group which carried out the blast.