Rights panel didn't find evidence of Pragya's claims about torture

Shalini Ojha

Rights panel didn

20 Apr 2019: Rights panel didn't find evidence of Pragya's claims about torture

BJP's Bhopal candidate Pragya Thakur claimed she was tortured by ATS, led by martyred IPS officer Hemant Karkare, but her allegations couldn't be proved neither in Supreme Court, High Court or Human Rights panel, reports Mumbai Mirror.

Karkare's team was given a clean chit by rights panel in 2015, seven years after he died fighting terrorists in Mumbai.

Here's all about it.

Context: Backstory: Pragya said Karkare died due to her 'curse'

On Friday, Pragya stirred a controversy when she claimed Karkare died due to her curse. She said he tortured her in custody and she told him that his entire clan would be wiped off.

Her demeaning comments were widely criticized by Opposition leaders and colleagues of Karkare. They remembered him as an honest officer.

After outcry, Pragya retracted her statement.

Panel: In 2014, panel was formed to investigate Pragya's allegations

Pragya, an accused in Malegaon blast case in which five people died and 100 were injured, was arrested in 2008. In 2017, she was granted bail on health grounds.

In 2014, Rights Commission ordered State Director General of police to form a committee to investigate Pragya's claims of torture.

Subsequently, a panel was formed under the guidance of former DIG (Administration) RS Khaire.

Details: Panel collected evidence, concluded Pragya wasn't tortured

The panel included KH Kurlekar, who was Deputy Superintendent of Yerwada prison at the time, JM Kurkarni, an inspector of CID Pune, Rashmi Joshi, a member of Dakshata Sameeti, and NGO Greenlife Foundation.

In the report submitted in 2015, the panel said Pragya's allegations couldn't be substantiated through evidence.

The Commission collected proofs from jail, courts and the hospital where she was admitted.

SC's stand: Before the panel, SC also spoke about her allegations

Saying the allegations didn't need further probe, the panel closed the case.

Notably, in 2011, the Supreme Court also made a brief reference to Pragya's allegations. She had claimed in 2008 that ATS forced her aide Bhim Pasricha to thrash her.

But the division bench of Justices JM Panchal and HL Gokhale found the claims flimsy. They said doctors of two hospitals didn't find any injury marks.

Detention: SC also added that Pragya wasn't detained illegally

The top court also noted that Pragya was produced twice before the Nashik court (on October 24 and November 3) but she didn't mention any such incident.

On Pragya's allegations that she was illegally detained, SC relied on Bombay High Court's findings of 2010.

"Not once were the applicant's movements restricted, nor was she confined to the ATS office after interrogation," HC had noted.

Defense: Meanwhile, PM Modi defended Pragya, said she was ill-treated

While Pragya's candidature caused an uproar, PM Narendra Modi didn't find anything wrong in it.

He expressed displeasure that a sadhvi was treated this way and said her candidature would cost Congress dearly.

Notably, Pragya hasn't been acquitted and still faces trial under various sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Only charges under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) have been dropped.