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  Metros   Mumbai  25 Apr 2019  Court rejects plea to bar Sadhvi from contesting

Court rejects plea to bar Sadhvi from contesting

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Apr 25, 2019, 2:06 am IST
Updated : Apr 25, 2019, 2:06 am IST

The judge said that the applicant had chosen the wrong forum.

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur
 Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur

Mumbai: The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Wednesday rejected an application seeking to restrain Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur from contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The court said it is for the Election Commission to decide. The court also reprimanded the NIA for making a submission that it had given a clean chit to Ms Thakur because charges have been framed against her and she is facing trial and the NIA had not challenged the framing of charges against her.

Special judge Vinod Padalkar while rejecting the application filed by Sayyed Nisar Ahmed, the father of a young boy who died in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast, said the court has no power to restrain a candidate from contesting the poll.

The judge said that the applicant had chosen the wrong forum. He further observed, “This court doesn't have any legal powers to prohibit anyone from contesting the polls. It is the job of electoral officers to decide. This court cannot stop the accused from contesting the election.”

While deciding the plea filed by Mr Ahmed, the judge reprimanded the probe agency for reiterating its stand in its reply that there is no prima facie evidence against Thakur.

“In the reply filed by the NIA, the agency has noted that there is no prima facie material, evidence against Thakur. It is not known as to why this portion is included when there is no prayer in this regard by the intervener,” the judge said.

The judge observed that the comment of NIA was unwarranted because despite the clean chit from the NIA, the court already rejected her discharge application and also framed charges against her because it had found prima facie material against her to put her to trial.

According to the judge, “At this juncture, the NIA cannot state that there is no prima facie evidence against Thakur, especially when it has not challenged the order of rejection of her discharge application.”

Mr Ahmed had requested that the court should direct Ms Thakur to attend each and every court hearing and not to grant her exemption from personal appearance before the court.

According to Mr Ahmed, the accused had got bail on medical grounds, saying that she was unable to even walk without support - and she was seeking exemption from appearing before the court on the same grounds - but at the same time she was actively participating in election campaigns.

However, the NIA judge accepted the contention of the defence that the witnesses being examined by the prosecution were not related to her role and she was not contesting these witnesses and hence her presence in court was not required.

Tags: national investigation agency, sadhvi pragya singh thakur