New Delhi: The special National Investigation Agency court, which is hearing the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, has directed all the seven accused, including the Bhartiya Janata Party’s Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal, Pragya Singh Thakur, to register their presence in the court once in a week. While considering the absence of the accused, Judge Vinod Padalgar, on Friday, said exemption from appearance would not be granted without convincing reasons.
Notably, the NIA court is currently recording witness testimony and the next hearing is scheduled on May 20.
It may be noted that the bomb blasts, which were carried out in Maharashtra’s Malegaon, had caused death of six people and around 101 were injured. This blast took place on September 29, 2008.
Other than Pragya Thakur, Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, Major Ramesh Upadhyay (retired), Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi, Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Sameer Kulkarni are accused in this blast. All the accused are out on bail.
Earlier in October 2018, the special court had framed charges against all the seven, accusing them of terrorist activities, murder, criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity between groups, and other offences.
Significantly, the Malegaon blast was first probed by the then Maharashtra anti-terrorist squad chief Hemant Karkare, who was later killed during the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Pragya Thakur, in a recent statement, alleging torture, had said Karkare was killed because of her curse.