New Delhi: The allegations by Pragya Singh Thakur, the Malegaon blast accused who is now the BJP’s Bhopal candidate, that she was tortured at the hands of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare has stirred a hornet’s nest this election season.
But four years ago, the National Human Rights’ Commission (NHRC), which had looked into the allegations of torture had closed the complaint since the “allegations were not substantiated during the joint inquiry”.
The human rights panel had formed a committee to looks into the charges, which Thakur made in November 2008, claiming that she was thrashed by her aide Bhim Pasricha at the behest of the ATS.
The committee, led by R.S. Khaire, the then DIG (Admin), CID, Pune, also included K.H. Kurlekar, then deputy superintendent, Central Prison, Yerwada, Pune; J.M. Kulkarni, police inspector, CID-Pune and Rasmi Joshi, member, Dakshata Samiti, Pune City.
The committee investigated the matter and on 8 July 2015 had noted that the “allegations levelled were not substantiated by facts and evidence on record from the prison, court, hospitals and the ATS”.
Thakur, a key accused in the 2008 Malegaon case, was one of the first to be arrested in connection with the bomb blast that killed six and injured hundreds. She remained behind bars for nine years, between October 2008 and August 2017, before she was granted bail on health grounds.
EC issues notice to Thakur
Thakur, who has been pitted against Congress veteran and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh, drew flak after she claimed that Karkare died in the 26/11 attacks as she had cursed him.
The Election Commission has issued a notice to Thakur over her statements even as she tendered an apology Friday.
“We took suo motu cognisance of the statement and sought a report from the assistant returning officer (ARO) on the matter,” District Election Officer and Bhopal Collector Sudam Khade told PTI. “We got the report this morning and we are going to issue notices, which are returnable within 24 hours, to the organiser of the programme and the person who made the statement.”