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The Bombay High Court Thursday allowed Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, the prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast in Maharashtra, to travel to Madhya Pradesh by a second class air-conditioned coach for a court hearing there March 13, her lawyer said. She is currently lodged in a Mumbai jail.

The division bench of Justice V.M. Kanade and Justice P.D. Kode granted relief to Thakur after an extensive hearing, said her lawyer Ganesh Sovani.

Thakur’s presence is required for a court hearing in Madhya Pradesh’s capital Bhopal March 13 before the National Investigation Agency Special Judge V.K. Pandey.

Last month, Thakur challenged a special court order restraining her from travelling by air or by first class in a train for court hearings in Bhopal, Sovani said.

She filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking permission to travel by air or first class by train to Bhopal on the grounds of her frail health and security concerns.

“The judges (today) relied upon the circumstance, that she is a woman, suffering from lumbar spondylosis and she was prepared to bear her expenses as well as that of the police escort party,” Sovani told.

On Jan 16, Thakur filed an application before the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court seeking directions to the Maharashtra government and the NIA to allow her to travel to Bhopal by flight or first class train, at her expense.

Sovani said that when she travelled to Madhya Pradesh in the past, she had been taken in a second class unreserved coach. She was carried on a stretcher which was placed near a toilet.

Owing to her health problems, she was greatly inconvenienced during the 18-hour journey, said the lawyer.

The special MCOCA court Jan 21 rejected the application on the grounds that the jail manual did not provide for such a request.



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