Special NIA Court has rejected bail to Sadhvi Pragya, who is a terror accused in 2008 Malegaon blast case.
This after the NIA had astonishingly dropped all charges against Pragya in Malegaon blasts.
This is being deemed as a huge setback to the NIA, whose role under the Narendra Modi government has come under sharp scrutiny.
The court slammed the NIA when it said that charges against Sadhvi Pragya under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act would stay.
The NIA court, according to NDTV, said, “There are reasonable grounds to believe that accusations against Pragya are prima facie true. It is difficult to accept the (bail plea) merely on the ground that the NIA has given a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya.”
The court, while continuing to berate the NIA, said that it chose launch a “fresh investigation” instead of taking forward the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad’s work on the case.
The NIA had taken over the investigations from Maharashtra ATS in 2011.
The NIA on 6 June had not opposed the bail plea of Malegaon terror accused and left the decision at the discretion of the court.
Pragya’s lawyer Prashant Maggu had on 30 May filed the bail plea after the NIA decided to drop her name from the list of accused in its chargesheet.
This was after the NIA, on 13 May, decided not to name Pragya in its charge-sheet in connection with the case. The agency also dropped charges against her under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
This came on the day several media reports suggested that the NIA, which falls under the central government, had decided to water down the Malegaon blasts case by dropping serious charges of terror against individuals associated with what came to be known as ‘Hindutva Terror.’
Sadhvi Pragya, a former ABVP leader and key accused in the Malegaon blasts.
The NIA chargesheet, instead, blamed the former Maharashtra ATS chief, Hemant Karkare, for carrying out flawed investigations. The NIA, according to Indian Express, will even go to the extent of accusing Karkare, who died in 26/11 terror attacks, of fabricating evidence against Colonel Prasad Purohit, another key accused and recording witness statements under duress.
The NIA’s decision caused widespread condemnation as social media users launched stinging attack against the BJP-led central government for dishonouring a national hero.