Trouble for Pragya Thakur as HC serves notice over petition challenging her election

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Published: August 1, 2019 7:45:57 PM

A division bench of Justices Indrajit Mahanty and Riyaz Chagla was hearing a petition filed by Purohit challenging the sanction granted to prosecute him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Pragya Thakur, 2008 Malegaon blast, Indrajit Mahanty, Riyaz Chagla, Nisar Sayyed, india newsBJP MP Pragya Thakur. (PTI)

The lawyer of one of the victims of 2008 Malegaon blast on Thursday took exception to former attorney general Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Lt Col Prasad Purohit, one of the accused in the case. A division bench of Justices Indrajit Mahanty and Riyaz Chagla was hearing a petition filed by Purohit challenging the sanction granted to prosecute him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The sanctioning authority should be an independent person, while here it was granted by a junior official in the Maharashtra home department, Rohatgi, Purohit’s lawyer, said. Purohit was a decorated Army officer, he said. “We are not talking about any particular government. … whether it is one government or the other, he has been victimized and lost major part of his life spent in jail,” the senior advocate added.

Senior counsel B A Desai, appearing for Nisar Sayyed whose son was killed in the blast, raised objection to Rohatgi appearing for Purohit. “Rohatgi, during his tenure as attorney general, had appeared in a related matter for the Maharashtra government and National Investigation Agency. Now how can he appear for the accused persons? There is collusion between NIA and the accused,” Desai alleged. NIA counsel Anil Singh refuted the allegation.

Challenging the application of UAPA in the case, Rohatgi said the sanction was given without following due process of law, and hence the charge sheet too was illegal. The bench posted the petition for further hearing on August 7.

Six persons were killed and nearly 100 others injured when a bomb strapped to a motorcycle exploded near a mosque in Malegaon town in north Maharashtra on September 29, 2008. Apart from Purohit, BJP MP Pragya Thakur and five others are facing trial in the case.

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