The NIA informed the high court that it wanted to make an application before the special NIA court to seek protection for these witnesses.
Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday told the Bombay high court that it could not disclose the names and non-truncated statements of 38 sensitive witnesses to the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case because it wanted to provide police protection to them. The NIA informed the high court that it wanted to make an application before the special NIA court to seek protection for these witnesses.
A division bench of Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice A.M. Badar was hearing a petition filed by Prasad Purohit, seeking non-truncated copies of witness statements that are part of the charge sheet. Bhopal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and five others are accused in the case. They are facing trial on charges of terror and conspiracy under the Unla-wful Activities Preven-tion Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code.
NIA counsel Sandesh Patil told the bench that there were a total 475 witnesses out of which, statements of 186 were truncated. "Out of these 186, 38 witnesses are sensitive, and need to be given protection and their evidence will have to be recorded in camera. We are ready to give the accused non-truncated statements of the remaining witnesses," said advocate Patil. He added that the agency would be filing an application before the special NIA court, conducting trial in the case, for protection for these 38 witnesses. The bench then adjourned hearing on Mr Purohit's plea for two weeks.
Six people were killed and 100 injured when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in the northern Maharashtra town of Malegaon on September 29, 2008.