- Pragya Thakur skipped NIA court date in Mumbai for second time this week
- Her lawyer said she was hospitalised for dehydration and hypertension
- Seen at BJP event after "taking leave from hospital for 7 to 8 hours"
BJP lawmaker Pragya Singh Thakur failed to appear before a court in Mumbai today - for the second time this week - in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blast case. Her lawyer Prashant Magoo told the court she was suffering from high blood pressure and the director of a hospital in Bhopal, speaking to NDTV, confirmed Pragya Thakur had been admitted on Tuesday evening with dehydration, hypertension and gastrointestinal complications
However, according to Dr Ajay Mehta of the Bhopal Care Hospital, Pragya Thakur had today "taken leave for seven to eight hours to go home for bath and other things". The BJP leader was today afternoon spotted at an event in Bhopal to mark Maharana Pratap Jayanti.
The court had earlier granted exemption for the day but directed Pragya Thakur to appear tomorrow or "face consequences".
"She has taken leave for seven to eight hours to go home for bath and other things. She said she wanted to to Mumbai for some court case," Dr Mehta told NDTV. The doctor also said a decision on Pragya Thakur's health and ability to travel to Mumbai to appear before the NIA court would be taken in consultation with senior physician Dr Batni.
The saffron-robed parliamentarian from Bhopal is one of the main accused in the Malegaon case. Six people were killed and nearly 100 were injured after a bomb strapped to a motorcycle exploded on September 29 in Maharashtra's Malegaon.
Pragya Thakur, 49, had skipped court on Tuesday despite the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court having earlier rejected her request seeking exemption from appearance between June 3 and June 7. She now must appear tomorrow in order to comply with court orders to be present before it at least once a week.
"Today, the exemption is granted. But she will have to appear on Friday, else she will have to face consequences," Special NIA Judge VS Padalkar had said to Mr Magoo, when informed of Pragya Thakur's hospitalization in Bhopal.
Earlier Pragya Thakur's close aide Upma told news agency PTI that "she (Pragya Singh) is not well. She was hospitalised last (Wednesday) night for medication. She is suffering from some stomach-related ailment and was administered injectable medicines."
"She was discharged from the hospital this morning and is taking part in a programme as pressed by workers, but she will return to the hospital immediately afterwards as she is not well," Upma added.
Dismissing her first exemption petition, which was filed on Monday, the court said her presence was "certainly necessary" at this stage of the case. Pragya Thakur had sought exemption in order to complete formalities relating to Parliament.
"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 added.
Pragya Thakur was arrested in 2008 and faces charges under multiple sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Indian Penal Code, the Arms Act and the Explosive Substances Act.
An NIA court had dropped stringent charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act but the trial court retained charges against her under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Pragya Thakur is currently out on bail, on health grounds, and her candidature has been challenged in court by the father of one of the men who died in the blast.
Pragya Thakur was fielded as the BJP candidate from Bhopal in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election. She beat veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh by over 3.6 lakh votes.
With input from PTI