Judge examines Pragya's alleged bike in Malegaon case

BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur

The motorbike allegedly owned by BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and used in the September 2008 Malegaon bomb blast, in which she is an accused, was presented before a special court on Monday as evidence.

Two motorbikes and five cycles seized from the blast site were brought in a tempo to the sessions court in South Mumbai for examination by special NIA Judge Vinod Padalkar.

The judge, lawyers and a witness got into the tempo to examine the motorbikes and the cycles.

The witness identified the motorbike, allegedly owned by Thakur, as the one he saw at the site on the day of the blast, September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a power loom town in Nashik district, around 200km from here.

According to the prosecution, the bomb was set off with an improvised explosive device, fitted on a gold-coloured LML Freedom motorcycle registered in the name of Thakur, a Hindutva activist who is now the BJP MP from Bhopal.

Maharashtra's Anti-Terrorism Squad, which first probed the case, claimed Thakur had provided the motorbike for the blast to her close associate Ramji Kalsangra, still, a wanted accused.

The National Investigation Agency, which took over the probe from the ATS in 2011, filed its first supplementary chargesheet only in 2016, and gave Thakur a "clean chit".

The NIA said it had reassessed evidence put on record by the ATS and concluded that the motorcycle registered in Thakur's name was not in her possession and that it was being used by Kalsangra for over two years.

She was, therefore, not connected to the blast, the central agency had said.

Thakur relied on these submissions by the NIA while seeking discharge from the case before the special court.

However, the court rejected her plea on December 27, 2017, observing that prima facie the vehicle used in the blast belonged to Thakur, a native of Madhya Pradesh, and remained in her name in RTO (regional transport office) records.

"Accused. no. 1 (Thakur) is the registered owner of the said motorcycle till today... It is for the accused to show that her motorcycle is still in existence and in use by somebody," the court had said then.

Six persons were killed and over 100 others injured in the blast.

Apart from Thakur, six others are facing trial in the case.

The other accused are — Lt Col Prasad Purohit, Major (retired) Ramesh Upadhyay, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi, Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Sameer Kulkarni.

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