Terror-accused BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya Thakur spent her first day in an NIA court on Friday, facing grilling from Special Judge VS Padalkar, who called her to take her position inside the accused box.
Dressed in a saffron robe, Pragya arrived in Mumbai after not turning up for the hearing on Thursday, citing ill-health. The judge had taken a dim view of her lawyer’s excuse that Pragya was suffering from high blood pressure. He had told her lawyer Prashant Magoo in no uncertain terms, “Today (Thursday), the exemption is granted. But she will have to appear on Friday else she will have to face consequences.”
The judge on Friday asked Pragya if she was aware of the Malegaon blasts that took place in 2008. Pragya replied in the negative. “116 witnesses have been examined and it has been established that a blast took place? I am not asking who did it. Do you know a blast took place on 29th September, 2008?” the judge was quoted by NDTV. Pragya Thakur replied “I don’t know.”
Pragya, who defeated senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh with a huge margin from Bhopal parliamentary constituency last month, had to be hospitalised for a stomach ailment in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday night and discharged early Thursday, one of her close aides told news agency PTI.
Pragya may have suddenly realised about her poor-health, but she appeared in good spirit and health during the campaign after the BJP controversially fielded her as its candidate. The decision had evoked global outrage as a senior BJP leader and a known lawyer, Nalin Kohli, faced embarrassment while taking part in a show on Aljazeera TV.
The court, according to India Today, is currently recording the testimony of witnesses in the case. Seven persons, including Thakur and Lt Col Prasad Purohit, are facing trial in the case.
Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on 29 September, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in the Nasik district of north Maharashtra, 270 kms away from Mumbai.