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  Metros   Mumbai  02 Oct 2019  No in-camera trial for Malegaon case: NIA Court

No in-camera trial for Malegaon case: NIA Court

Published : Oct 2, 2019, 2:31 am IST
Updated : Oct 2, 2019, 2:31 am IST

Public prosecutor Avinash Rasal said that the accused had supported the plea for an in-camera trial.

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur
 Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur

Mumbai: A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Tuesday rejected a plea by the central agency for an in-camera trial to be conducted in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case. Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Col. Prasad Purohit are among the accused in this case.

Special NIA judge V.S. Padalkar in his order said, “The application for recording of evidence and conducting trial in-camera stands rejected.”

Public prosecutor Avinash Rasal said that Col Purohit, Thakur and other accused had supported the plea for an in-camera trial and had requested the court not to allow media persons to attend and report the court proceedings of the case. On the other hand, a single accused, Sameer Kulkarni, opposed the plea, saying the hearing should be kept open for the media. A group of journalists through senior lawyer Rizwan Merchant along with advocate Gayatri Gokhale and lawyers B.A. Desai, Shahid Nadeem and Hetali Sheth — on behalf of the victims — had opposed the NIA’s application and had said that there was no reason to ban the media from reporting on the trial.

Judge Padalkar observed that the in-camera trial was sought on the point of security, considering the nature, the gravity of the offence and the security of the “state” from anti-national elements, sensitivity and other factors. However, the judge said, “Till this date, no application has been received by this court from anybody else on the point of threat nor during these years there was disharmony and communal rift as stated by them, anywhere else, in Malegaon or another part of the state… Therefore, it is not a fit case to conduct an in-camera trial. Conducting trial in a transparent manner and way is one of the criteria to reject the prayer for in-camera trial.”

According to the judge, the media’s role was very clear: it is “bent upon to print, publish the matter as per actual events that took place in the court during the course of evidence so as to provide correct information to publish at large, being the main pillar of the democracy”.

The judge also noted that the NIA failed to explain important factors such as the reason for the delay in filing the application for in-camera trial, and if there was any secret information with regard to the internal security of the state, for the satisfaction of the court to make the trial in-camera.

Tags: national investigation agency, sadhvi pragya singh thakur