Upset over “maligning” Karkare, former aide to contest against Pragya Thakur

NEW DELHI: A retired assistant commissioner of police (ACP) has decided to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Bhopal against Pragya Singh Thakur for her recent controversial statements on the death of former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare.

According to Times Of India reports, Riyaz Deshmukh on Tuesday filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate for the elections to be held in the fifth phase of polling on May 12

Speaking to TOI, Deshmukh said he was upset over the “maligning” of slain Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief and therefore took the decision.

“Soon after Pragya’s candidature was decided, I made up my mind to contest against her because I cannot see anyone maligning one of the finest and most upright officers in Maharashtra. Karkare guided me in all professional matters and always stood by me.”

A sub-inspector from the 1986 batch, Deshmukh retired as ACP from Amravati in 2016 has lived in Aurangabad for the last three years where he started a web portal in Aurangabad after retirement to offered counselling services to civilians and serving policemen in legal cases.

The 49-year-old Pragya Thakur is an accused in the Malegaon blasts case in which six people died and around 100 were injured in 2006. She is currently out on bail and her candidature has been challenged in court by the father of one of the men killed in the blast.

Days after her candidature was announced from Bhopal, Thakur had claimed that Karkare died during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks due to her “curse” for “torturing” her when he probed the blast case.

Following a backlash, Thakur apologised admitting that Karkare was a “martyr”. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) distanced itself from her remark.

She is also in the dock for her recent controversial statements on the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

The Election Commission on Sunday issued a show cause notice to Thakur for her remarks made in an interview to a television channel over the weekend. Thakur had told the TV channel that she was among the people who demolished the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 and that she was “proud” of it.