NIA court turns down petition seeking ban on Pragya Singh Thakur’s candidature in LS polls

BJP, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Hemant Karkare, Lok Sabha Elections 2019, News Mobile, News Mobile India
Pragya Thakur (File Image)

In a major relief to BJP’s candidate from Bhopal Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a special NIA court on Wednesday turned down the application filed by the father of a man victim of the 2008 Malegaon terror blast seeking to bar her from contesting the ongoing elections.

Special NIA Judge Vinod Padalkar while negating the plea, said, “In present ongoing elections this court does not have any legal powers to prohibit anyone from contesting elections. It is the job of the electoral officers to decide. This court can’t stop the accused from contesting elections. This application is negated by this court.”

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During the course of hearing, Special Judge Padalkar stated that the agency cannot mention that there is no prima facie case against Thakur.

“….When a court of earlier NIA Judge had dismissed the discharge application, it means that the court has prima facie found material in the charges against the accused. At this juncture, NIA cannot state that there is no prima facie case against the accused as NIA has not challenged the order before the high court,” Padalkar’s order read.

During the course of hearing, NIA counsel told the court that the agency can’t say anything on this as it cannot stay anyone’s candidature in the election. “That can be done by Election Commission itself. According to us, this court has no jurisdiction to prevent anyone from contesting elections as per Representation of People’s Act,” the NIA submitted before the court.

The applicant’s lawyer argued before the court that Sadhvi Pragya is not attending the court proceedings on grounds of ill health but is campaigning for an election in where she is not looking like an ill person.

Judge Padalkar objected to the application as it was not signed by the applicant himself and was filed by lawyers without the signatures of the applicant. He also raised a question about the timing of the application and asked the lawyer of the applicant that if Pragya was in good health, why there was no objection to exemption given to her from appearing in the court.

On Tuesday, Thakur filed her response to the plea and dubbed the petition as “frivolous” adding that the plea was filed with a “political agenda” and was “publicity stunt”.

“It is submitted that it is beyond the competence of the Intervener to file application with prayers of the nature filed, more particularly when the same is without an affidavit in the support. The Intervener having knowledge of the same has still deliberately preferred to file this misconceived application, for extraneous objectives and for want of publicity,” Thakur said in her response to the application filed by Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal.

In her reply filed before the NIA court, Pragya also said, “There is no provision in the Representation of Peoples Act 1951, which disqualifies the candidate from contesting elections if a criminal case is pending against him/her.”

The court was hearing an intervener application filed by Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal, whose son Sayyed Azhar died in the blast seeking court’s direction to bar Thakur from contesting elections as the case is under trial.

On Tuesday, Thakur filed her nomination papers from Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency. She was accompanied by three supporters and her advocate.

Thakur is among the seven accused facing trial in the Malegaon blast case, wherein six people were killed and a dozen others were injured when a bomb placed on a motorcycle exploded in Maharashtra’s Malegaon on September 29, 2008.

After the NIA court verdict Pragya Singh said, ”BJP MP candidate from Bhopal, Pragya Singh Thakur on NIA court rejecting plea to ban her from contesting LS poll: Congress has been conspiring continuously but we will definitely win because truth and ‘dharma’ always wins”.

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