Controversial Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pragya Thakur on Thursday failed to appear before a court in Mumbai in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blast case, the second time in a week. Her lawyer told the court that Thakur was admitted to a hospital in Bhopal because she was unwell and thus couldn’t travel to Mumbai to attend the proceedings. However, Thakur in the afternoon was seen attending an event in MP Nagar in Bhopal to mark the birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap. Accompanied by scores of BJP workers, Thakur was seen taking part in an event where she garlanded the statue of Maharana Pratap.
On Wednesday evening, Thakur had visited the home of the Bhopal Shahar Kazi, Syed Mushtaq Ali Nadvi, on the occasion of Eid. She was admitted to Care Hospital at night and discharged on Thursday morning.
Her lawyer told the court that Thakur was suffering from high blood pressure and thus she was admitted to a hospital. This was for the second time this week she skipped from appearing before the court. Earlier on Monday, Thakur had sought an exemption from appearing for the whole week. However, the court rejected her plea and directed her to appear before it on Thursday. On Thursday, when Thakur’s lawyer moved an exemption plea, the court accepted it for the day but directed her to remain present on Friday. The court also noted that Thakur’s medical documents were not submitted along with her petition which said that she has been admitted to a hospital.
The court also took note of an exemption plea filed by another accused Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi and directed him to attend the proceedings on Friday, failing which necessary orders will be issued against him. Dwivedi had told the court that he was participating in religious ceremony Kheer Bhawani Mahotsav in Jammu and Kashmir where his presence was required. He had cited the distance from Mumbai as one of the reasons to seek an exemption and informed that court that he had booked tickets for Mumbai on June 13.
Special Judge VS Padalkar said it seems that Dwivedi did not want to attend court despite directions. “It appears that without appearing before the court he wants to discharge his religious duties at various places. The grounds do not seem to be just, good or reasonable, he said.
He is facing trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and it is his duty to remain present before the court, the judge observed.
Last month, the court had directed all the seven accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case to remain present before it at least once a week. The court has so far not convicted Thakur, thus making her eligible to contest the elections. Thakur who was granted bail in April 2017 on the health grounds, defeated Congress’ Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal parliamentary constituency by a margin of over 3.65 lakh votes in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections.