Sadhvi Pragnya files fresh bail plea

Mumbai : Two months after the Supreme Court rejected her bail plea, Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur, one of the prime accused in the September 2008 Malegaon blast case, has once again sought bail on “grounds of parity”, her lawyer said here Friday.

Three other co-accused in the same case – Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyam Sahu and Ajay Rahirkar – were granted bail by the Bombay High Court in August.

She has moved a Mumbai Special Court seeking bail. “Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur has filed a regular bail plea and discussed the merits and demerits in the chargesheet filed against her,” said her lawyer Ganesh Sovani.

Special Judge Y.D. Shinde of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) Court has kept the matter for hearing Dec 5 and asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to file its reply in the matter, Sovani said.

A total of 12 people were nabbed by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) following the Sep 29, 2008 blast that killed six and injured scores of people in the Muslim-dominated Malegaon town in Nashik district.

Subsequent ATS investigations pointed to the involvement of Hindu extremist groups in the incident.

In her latest bail plea, the Sadhvi has contended that no ‘specific role’ has been attributed in the terror case nor anything ‘incriminating’ has been recovered from her.

She added that from Oct 10-22, 2008, she was interrogated by the ATS only on the point of her formerly-owned LML Freedom scooter, which she had sold in 2004 to one Sunil Joshi.

“It was only after recording the two confessional statements by two witnesses D.S. Bairagi and D.R. Nahar, recorded Oct 22, 2008, before the Girgaum Court, Mumbai, that the Sadhvi was arrested,” Sovani said.

This, he said, was the ‘reasoning’ for Sadhvi’s arrest, according to the ATS itself, which was reflected earlier in the affidavit filed by the then chief investigating officer and Assistant Police Commissioner, Mohan Kulkarni, in response to her earlier plea for ‘bail by default’ filed in the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court.

The Sadhvi has contended that the ATS remand reports of Oct 24, 2008 and Nov 3, 2008 before a Nashik court had specifically mentioned that the LML Freedom scooter was being used by someone else since long, and this theory was endorsed in a report filed by the Maharashtra Police before the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi.

“Hence, if Sadhvi Pragnya had nothing to do with the vehicle she once owned then why is she made an accused in the first place and continues to be in custody?” Sovani asked.

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