Member of Parliament and main accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast, Pragya Singh Thakur, appeared before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Friday and said she did not know about the blast.
After the court proceedings were over, irritatingly looked Ms. Thakur expressed displeasure over the chair, and said, “This is not the way to treat people after calling them to court there is no proper place to sit or stand here.”
She looked around and said there is so much dust, and that she had to stand all day long despite a spine problem. She also pointed to the chair offered to her and said, “How can I sit on this? If I did, I will end up on the bed.”
Earlier Ms. Thakur arrived at 12.45 p.m. from Bhopal, after the court turned down her plea seeking exemption from appearance in court.
Judge Vinod Padalkar asked her to take her place in the space demarcated for the accused, where Sudhakar Dwivedi and Sameer Kulkarni were seated.
She sat on a red velvet cloth placed by her aides.
Lawyers requested permission to talk to Ms. Thakur but the judge turned it down, and called her to the witness stand.
The judge read out his order, which directed the accused to be present in court once a week, and asked Ms. Thakur if she wanted a chair to sit while deposing. She, however, said she would stand.
The judge then questioned her under Section 313(1A) (the court can question the accused) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and asked in Hindi, “Do you know how many witnesses have been examined by prosecution? Has your lawyer told you?” To which she replied, “No, I don’t know.”
The judge then said, “One hundred and sixteen witnesses have been examined and it has been established that a blast took place. I am not asking who did it. Do you know a blast took place on 29th September, 2008?”
She said, “No, I don’t know.”
Post-lunch, the judge asked Ms Thakur again, “I am asking on humanitarian grounds, [do] you want to sit or stand?” to which Ms Thakur said she had a throat infection, which made it difficult for her to hear properly. She continued to stand close to the judge.
Later, the tehsildar deposed in court and was cross-examined by defence lawyer Ranjeet Sangle.
The tehsildar said it had been falsely recorded that people died due to the blasts and that he had received a copy of the panchnama from the cops via WhatsApp.