Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, along with seven other accused, were acquitted by a Dewas court on Wednesday in connection with former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ‘pracharak’ Sunil Joshi murder case.
Additional district and sessions judge Rajeev M Apte found that the prosecution was unable to prove beyond doubt that the accused were involved in conspiring and executing the murder of Sunil Joshi on December 29, 2007.
Joshi alias Guruji was shot dead by two bike-borne assailants in Chuna Khadan area of Dewas, a few meters from his single-room hideout. Joshi was evading arrest for his alleged role in murder of Congress leader Pyarsingh Ninama in Manpur.
Joshi was shot dead here on December 29, 2007.
Initially, the probe had hit a dead-end, but later arrest of a person in Rajasthan led the district police to name Pragya and others as accused in the case.
The trial from the district court was shifted to the Special NIA Court in Bhopal a few years ago. However, the matter was shifted back to the district court on the ground it was a murder case and doesn’t come under the ambit of NIA, which is an anti-terror agency.
Joshi was once a close aide of Pragya, but they fell out later.
Pragya is in judicial custody in connection with terror cases. She was not present in the court here when the verdict was announced.
Hearing the not guilty verdict, Anandraj and Vasudev, who were present in the court along with relatives and supporters, broke down.
The other accused Lokesh Sharma and Rajendra Chaudhary are in jail in Haryana’s Panchkula in connection with the Samjhauta blast case. Another accused Harshad is also in jail in connection with another case.
The other four accused Jitendra Sharma, Ramcharan Patel, Vasudev Parmar and Anandraj Kataria are out on bail.
Initially, the Madhya Pradesh police investigated the case and submitted a closure report. The case was handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on orders of the Madhya Pradesh high court.
After the NIA did not find any evidence to book the accused under sections they were being investigated, the case was again handed over to the Dewas Police in September 2014.