Mumbai, May 13: The National Investigation Agency has dropped charges against Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in the Malegaon blasts case. The NIA has cited want of evidence.
The National Investigation Agency which is probing the Malegaon 2008 blast case is likely to told the court that is no evidence against Sadhvi Pragya.
Of all the accused in the case, the NIA suggests that the case against Sadhvi is the weakest.. She had been arrested by the Maharashtra ATS on the charge that it was her motorcycle that was used to plant the bomb at Malegaon in 2008. However a detailed investigation found that the motor cycle was never used by her. The NIA has also not been able to find any evidence regarding her participation in the conspiracy.
For Sadhvi Pragya, the first relief came when charges slapped under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act had been slapped. While the ATS which probed the case at first had claimed that she had played a major part in the conspiracy, the NIA has found no such evidence.
The motor cycle which was registered in her name was used to place the bomb. However the NIA has learnt that the bike was used by Ramachandra Kalasanghra an absconding accused in the case. He was using the bike for two years and could have had used the same in the blast as well.
The NIA told the court later today that there is not enough evidence against Sadhvi to charge her in this case. The final decision would however lie with the court and if the same is accepted she will walk free after 8 years.
Did ATS plant the evidence?
The National Investigation Agency is likely to state that the probe by the ATS in connection with the Malegaon 2008 blasts case was a flawed one. Evidence fabricated and witness statements taken under duress is also to be part of the NIA's submission in this case.
This case had generated a lot of interest when the ATS began probing the same. The ATS took over the probe after a blast in Malegaon, Maharashtra on September 29 2008 had killed 6 and injured 100.
The first person to be picked up in connection with this case was Sadhvi Pragya Singh after it had been found that the bomb was planted on a motor cycle which was registered in her name.
The ATS quickly concluded that it was the handi work of a Hindu group. The ATS was then headed by Hemanth Karkare who was killed by terrorists in the 26/11 attack. Later on the NIA took over the probe and the same was headed by Sanjeev Singh an officer in the rank of Inspector General. This team had recorded the statements of 164 witnesses.
The case was later handled by a team headed by G P Siingh which re-recorded the statements. In the second round the witnesses told the NIA that they were forced to implicate the accused persons. This led to the NIA stating that the statements of the witnesses were recorded under duress.
The NIA dropped drop charges against Sadhvi Pragya Singh under the stringent provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act.
The other accused have been charged under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or the UAPA. This would negate a lot of the evidence which otherwise would have been admissible under the MCOCA.