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The Supreme Court today fixed October 31 for the final hearing of a plea challenging the Bombay High Court order granting bail to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. A bench comprising Justices R K Agarwal and S Abdul Nazeer listed the matter for final hearing after counsel for Thakur submitted that she would not like to file any documents with regard to the case. The National Investigating Agency (NIA) had filed its reply in the case saying there was no evidence against Thakur. Petitioner Nisar Ahmed Haji Sayed Bilal, father of one of the blast victims, has alleged in his plea that Thakur was a "powerful person" and could influence witnesses in the case. He has sought a stay on the high court's April 25 order granting bail to her. The high court had granted her bail, saying there was "no prima facie evidence against her". "The high court failed to appreciate that Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur is an influential person and is likely to wield her power and influence in an illegal and unlawful manner to tamper with evidence and influence witnesses," Bilal has said. He has claimed that there was ample evidence against her and "her role, involvement and complicity in planning and executing the conspiracy for committing Malegaon blast is writ large on the case record". It has said that she had been denied bail by a special court in Mumbai several times in the years 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016 on the ground that "a prima facie case is clearly made out against her". Thakur was granted bail by the high court, which, however, had refused similar relief to Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, a co-accused in the case.
The apex court had earlier this year granted bail to Purohit with certain conditions. Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in Nasik district of north Maharashtra. A special MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) court had earlier ruled that the Anti-Terrorist Squad had wrongly applied the MCOCA against Thakur, Purohit and nine others. The 4,000-page charge sheet had alleged that Malegaon was selected as the blast target because of a sizeable Muslim population there. It had named Thakur, Purohit and co-accused, Swami Dayanand Pandey as the key conspirators. The charge sheet had alleged it was Pandey who had instructed Purohit to arrange explosive RDX, while Thakur owned the motorcycle which was used in the blast. Ajay Rahirkar, another accused, allegedly organised funds for the terror act, while conspiracy meetings were held at Bhonsala Military School in Nasik, it had said. Rakesh Dhawde, Ramesh Upadhyay, Shyamlal Sahu, Shivnarain Kalsangra, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Jagdish Mhatre and Sameer Kulkarni were the other accused.
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