NIA court rejects plea to bar Pragya from contesting elections

New Delhi: A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court Wednesday declined a request to ban 2008 Malegaon blasts accused and BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya Thakur from fighting the Lok Sabha elections, indicating that it is for the Election Commission to take a decision on the matter.

The court ruled that it did not have any legal powers to prevent anyone from fighting the elections. It is the responsibility of electoral officers to take a call. The court said it couldn’t stop Pragya Thakur from contesting the elections.

The court added: “At this point, the NIA cannot state that there is no prima facie case against the accused as the NIA has not challenged the order (rejecting discharge of the accused) before the high court,” it added.

The special NIA court’s reply came after Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal, whose son Sayyed Azhar had died in the blast, requested court to stop Thakur from contesting the polls since the trial is still underway.

“She isn’t attending the court proceedings on grounds of ill-health but is campaigning for elections where she isn’t looking unwell,” the lawyer of the applicant had told the court.

Calling the plea “trivial” and with “political agenda”, Thakur had earlier said there was no provision under the law to bar her from contesting the polls.

Facing trial for her alleged role in the blast that left six dead and 101 injured in September 2008 in Malegoan, Thakur is currently out on bail.

She has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for conspiring and abetting a terror act and also faces charges ranging from murder to criminal conspiracy.

A Hindu hardliner, she has been fielded against Congress’s Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal which will go to polls on May 12.