In a significant development, Bombay High Court on 25 April granted bail to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in 2008 Malegaon blast case.
The court was hearing the appeals filed by Sadhvi Pragya and Lt Col Prasad Purohit challenging an earlier order of a special court rejecting their bail pleas. While the NIA did not oppose bail to Sadhvi Pragya in Bombay High Court, the agency, however, recommended prosecuting Lt Colonel Purohit for conspiracy and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
“We have said in our order that prima facie there is no case made out against Sadhvi,” Justice Ranjit More of the Division Bench, which heard the case was quoted as saying.
The High Court, however, denied any relief to Purohit, a co-accused in the case. A division bench of Justices More and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi said, “The appeal filed by Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur is allowed. The applicant (Sadhvi) is directed to be released on bail on a surety of Rs 5 lakh. The appeal filed by Prasad Purohit stands dismissed.”
Sadhvi Pragya and Lt Col Purohit were arrested in connection to the 2008 Malegaon blast. Both are in jail since then. Use of term “Hindu terror” or “Saffron terror” was popularized after their arrests.
The probe into Malegaon blast case by Maharashtra Anti-terrorism Squad (ATS) is under question amid allegations by Nation Investigative Agency (NIA) that the ATS investigation was riddled with ‘loopholes’. Both the NIA and the ATS had filed two separate chargesheets in the case. Both the chargsheets made contrasting claims.
There have been accusations about political interference and fabrication of cases to prove “Hindu terror” by the erstwhile UPA government. A police officer of Maharashtra ATS had earlier claimed that two men, accused of being Hindu terrorists, were killed and their body passed off as 26/11 victims in the same case for which Sadhvi Pragya Thakur was arrested.