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Pragya Thakur to get NIA's clean chit in Joshi murder case

By Vicky Nanjappa
Last updated on: December 27, 2013 13:27 IST

The NIA has found nothing to suggest that Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur was involved in the murder of Malegaon and Samjhauta blasts accused Sunil Joshi, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

Ending a six-year long ordeal, the National Investigation Agency is all set to give a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh pracharak Sunil Joshi murder case.

Joshi was named as an accused in the Malegaon and Samjhauta Express blasts cases, and was found murdered at Dewas, Madhya Pradesh, on December 29, 2007.

The NIA, which was handling the murder case, had named Pragya Singh Thakur, Harshad Solanki, Vasudev Parmar, Anand Raj Kataria and Ramcharan Patel as accused. However, during the course of the investigation, the agency found nothing on the above mentioned persons and have now decided to drop charges against them.

Sources in the NIA told that the case is clear today and they have found that Joshi was murdered by Lokesh Sharma and Rajendra Pehalwan. They were aided by two others: Jitender Sharma and Dilip Jagtap.

“The NIA will now proceed against these four persons,” the NIA officer said.

All the four have been arrested, but the real breakthrough in the case came in only after the arrest of Lokesh Sharma. Sharma, who was a youth wing leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, was arrested in Mhow in January this year.

During the course of his interrogation, Sharma reported exactly what had happened. He also pointed out that Sadhvi Pragya Singh was not involved in the case, NIA sources said.

“Sharma said that Sunil Joshi had fallen out with them and was threatening to spill the beans on their activities. Joshi aspired to contest elections and hence wanted to come clean. He had even thought of surrendering before the police which did not go down too well with his accomplices. This was the main reason for the murder,” the officer said.

The NIA has now decided to take this case further by seeking a sanction from the Union home ministry to prosecute Sharma and three others. Subsequently they would also move an application before the Madhya Pradesh special court to drop charges against Pragya Singh Thakur, Harshad Solanki, Vasudev Parmar, Anand Raj Kataria and Ramcharan Patel.

Sources in the NIA, however, pointed out that there were certain unresolved aspects in the case that are yet to be solved before the final closure. The recovered weapons used in the murder have been sent to the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory for examination.

Ganesh Sovani, advocate for Sadhvi Pragya Singh, told that this is a welcome development.

“It is good that truth has prevailed and charges will be dropped against my client. She however is still an accused in the Malegaon-2 case and we are hopeful that she will be discharged in that case as well. Her bail application is still pending before the court and we are hopeful of a verdict very soon,” Sovani said.

NIA officials also said that their primary agenda would be to complete the Sunil Joshi murder case as soon as possible.

“The (Joshi murder) case had its own repercussions and appeared to be connected to the Malegaon and Samjautha case. Whether Sadhvi was involved in the Malegaon case or not is still under investigation and we are hopeful of solving that case soon as well”, the NIA officer said.

Image: Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur

Vicky Nanjappa