The special NIA court, hearing the Malegaon blast case in which newly-elected BJP MP from Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur is an accused, on Tuesday, adjourned the hearing in the case as the listed witness wasn’t available for statement. Exemption from appearance for Pragya Singh Thakur was also filed for Tuesday which was allowed by the court.

Pragya Thakur had, on Monday, failed to get an exemption from appearance in a special court this week in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. Special NIA Judge, VS Padalkar, had rejected Thakur’s application for exemption in which she had stated that she has to complete formalities relating to Parliament.

The court had directed Thakur to appear before it this week.

“Grounds shown in the exemption application like to complete process of elections, enrolment and other factors cannot be accepted at all as time and again, the accused person (Thakur) has undertaken to remain present before this court but fails to do so,” the court had observed.

“However, now material witnesses are being called by the prosecution to adduce their evidence to prove their case against the accused persons. Hence, the presence of accused persons is certainly necessary,” the court had said.

The court had, two weeks ago, granted Thakur and two other accused, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sudhakar Chaturvedi, an exemption for a week.

Currently, the court is recording the testimony of witnesses in the case.

Six people were killed and over 100 injured on September 29, 2008, when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon.

The accused are facing trial under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). They have been charged under UAPA Sections 16 (committing terrorist act) and 18 (conspiring to commit terrorist act).

They are also facing charges under IPC sections 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 153(a) (promoting enmity between two religious groups).

The accused have also been charged under relevant sections of the Explosive Substances Act.

(With agency inputs)