In a controversial appointment, the Centre on Thursday has nominated the Malegaon blast- accused BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur to the 21-member Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Defence Ministry. The panel will headed by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. In June, a Special NIA court in Mumbai rejected Pragya Thakur's application for a permanent exemption from attending the court once a week.
Thakur, who is a prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case faces trial under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). On December 27, 2017, a special NIA court had dropped stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act charges against Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya, Sameer Kulkarni and other accused in the blast case. In April 2017, the Bombay High Court approved bail for Thakur, who the ATS had said was among the prime conspirators of the blast. Six persons were killed and 101 were injured when an improvised explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off at Malegaon on September 29, 2008.
Sadhvi Pragya has contested the elections from Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal constituency against Congress stalwart Digvijaya Singh and won the BJP bastion. Along with her nomination, he campaign too was mired with controversy. First, claiming that martyred ATS chief Hemant Karkare had held her in custody while questioning her in the terror case without any evidence, she said claimed that her curse- 'you will be annihilated' resulted in his death a month later (on duty during the 26/11 attacks).
She later made a communal statement claiming that she was part of the mob which demolished Babri Masjid. Inspite of the EC's notices to explain her conduct following her statements, she made another controversy in June when she called the Mahatma's assassin Nathuram Godse -a "Deshbhakt" (Patriot). She added that those who have termed Godse as a terrorist will get a reply from the people in the elections.