Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, has decided to challenge the recent NIA court’s decision to deny bail to her. The appeal will be moved within a fortnight. She had moved for bail after the NIA had given a clean chit to her in the case. Disappointed by this week’s court order, she has said she will point out to the higher court how the lower court’s order is “perverse” in nature. “There has been a remarkable change in the circumstances since we last moved our bail application,” advocate Prashant Maggu told The Sunday Guardian.
“We will move the Bombay High Court challenging the order passed by the learned judge this week. We will show how this order is perverse in nature, and has not taken into consideration the change in circumstances,” Maggu said.
“The court has not taken into consideration the change in circumstances. On the basis of the same NIA report, the court has discharged two accused, namely, Dhansingh and Lokesh Sharma. You can’t believe in one part of the NIA report, and not believe in another part,” he said.
After failing several times in her attempt to gain bail from the court, Sadhvi was optimistic this time after the NIA’s clean chit to her. Also, the dropping of MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) against all the accused in the case had strengthened her hope. In the past, she had tried to get bail on medical grounds, claiming that she was suffering from cancer. She had later retracted that claim in the Bombay High Court. In another bail application, she also sought to be released on the grounds of merits of the case. She had gone in appeal after the lower court rejected her bail applications. This time, after the Bombay High Court redirected co-accused Shrikant Purohit to approach the trial court again for bail, she was hopeful as the apex court had ordered removal of MCOCA.
But Judge S.D. Tekale, Special Judge under MCOC and NIA Act, dashed her hopes. He relied heavily on the evidence collected against her by the Maharashtra ATS, and the previous court orders which were issued for rejecting her bail pleas.
The court held that Sadhvi had “actively helped other co-accused by providing motor cycle for explosion of bombs at Malegaon.”
The NIA had told the court that it did not oppose Sadhvi’s bail plea. It told the court that certain key witnesses had retracted their statements. But the court probed into the NIA statements deeply, and observed that on the basis of the same evidence presented currently, the NIA had vociferously opposed Sadhvi’s bail plea the last time. There has been no change in circumstances or the witness statements since then, the court observed, raising questions on the NIA probe.
The court also slammed the NIA by pointing out that the investigating officer had made no new findings, and had in fact come to a contradictory conclusion on the basis of the same evidence as presented by the ATS. But Maggu has claimed that it would be incorrect to say that the circumstances have not changed. “Just three days before Sadhvi’s order, the Bombay High Court had passed an order redirecting Colonel Shrikant Purohit to the trial court after he had challenged his own bail order. The court had said that since the circumstances have changed as MCOCA has been revoked, he should go back to the trial court. This is a huge change in circumstance,” he said.