Amit Shah, the Bharatiya Janata Party president, on Monday defended party’s decision to field Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency despite a case of terrorism pending against her. Thakur is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, which is being heard in a National Investigation Agency court.
“Sadhvi Pragya was given a clean chit after false case was filed against her,” news agency PTI quoted Shah as saying at a press conference in Kolkata.
Pragya Thakur’s BJP Ticket Isn’t ‘Interesting’ – It’s Disturbing
Thakur is currently out on bail. She was named the BJP candidate against senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal. The BJP has held this seat since 1989 Lok Sabha polls.
She stirred a huge controversy after being given party ticket for the Lok Sabha polls with her comments on former police officer Hemant Karkare, who died during 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai in 2008. Thakur said Karkare died because she had cursed him for “torturing” her when she was in custody in connection with the Malegan blast case.
Karkare was the Maharashtra anti-terror squad (ATS) chief and led the probe into the Malegaon blast that killed seven people and injured over a hundred others.
Thakur was among the accused arrested by the ATS before the probe was handed over to the NIA in 2011. The ATS said the motorcycle used in the Malegaon blast belonged to Thakur.
The NIA later submitted its in a special court informing it that no case could be made out against Thakur as the witnesses on whose statements had become a basis for charging her in the terror case retracted their deposition since. The NIA gave her the clean chit which Shah was referring to in his press conference in West Bengal on Monday.
But the NIA court, hearing the matter, rejected the plea and directed it to proceed with the trial in the case against Thakur. However, the NIA’s conclusion in its report formed the basis for the court to grant her bail.
Shah dismissed the speculation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will contest from a second Lok Sabha seat from West Bengal. To a question if PM Modi will file nomination from West Bengal, Shah, news agency ANI reported, said, “No, there is no such plan at the moment.”
First Published: Apr 22, 2019 11:07 IST
Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur