A former public prosecutor in the Malegaon blast case has slammed BJP politician Pragya Thakur for claiming that she was tortured while being investigated by a team led by 26/11 hero Hemant Karkare for her alleged involvement in the incident.
Two days ago, Pragya Thakur had kicked up a row by alleging that the police officer was killed by terrorists during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks because she had placed a curse on him. "Hemant Karkare was anti-national. He was dharam virudh (anti-religion). You won't believe this, but I said that he will be destroyed. Soon after, terrorists killed him," the politician, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Bhopal on a BJP ticket, said. She withdrew her controversial remark in the face of mounting criticism on Friday.
Pragya Thakur has repeatedly accused police of subjecting her to severe torture while investigating the Malegaon blasts, which resulted in six deaths.
Rohini Salian, the former public prosecutor in the case, clarified that the courts had found no evidence of Pragya Thakur being tortured or placed in illegal detention. "I have never come across a man dying after being cursed by a sadhvi. These remarks (against Hemant Karkare) are unwarranted and uncalled for. I feel she is doing this for publicity as she is contesting the polls. Unwanted commentaries of this sort are atrocious," she said.
Ms Salian pointed out that a trial court had found no evidence of torture or illegal detention in Pragya Thakur's case. "So they (the accused) challenged the verdict in the High Court, which went through all the records - including medical reports - and rejected her appeal too."
She also trashed the BJP's allegation that its Bhopal candidate was framed by the previous Congress government. "There is evidence to show that both the accused were last seen with Pragya Thakur in Bhopal. Her vehicle (a scooter) was lying in the same compound where they were staying. Finally, it was taken to the site of the blasts and used there," Ms Salian said.
The public prosecutor said she excused herself from the case in 2015, after the National Investigation Agency began pressurising her to go easy on it. "Until then, I was free to carry out my legal duties in court. However, working in such circumstances was difficult," she said.
Ms Salian said she was the last person to meet Hemant Karkare on the day of the terror attacks. "I am speaking up today for one purpose only. I cannot put up with heroic police officers being maligned," she added.