Other States

Malegaon case: journalists oppose move for in-camera trial

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, one of the accused .

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, one of the accused .  

‘Citizens have a right to know’, scribes tell NIA court

A group of journalist have moved an intervention application in the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Monday opposing the move to conduct an in-camera trial in the ongoing hearing of the 2008 Malegaon blasts case.

The move will bar the media from covering the court proceedings and will only allow the lawyers, the accused and the judge to be present at the trial.

On August 2, the NIA in an application to special judge Vinod Padalkar said the case involves facts having direct bearing on “communal harmony, national security and public order”.

The five-page application by NIA said, “it is submitted that allegations against the accused in the case is that they have committed offence to take revenge against Muslim jihadis activities and to create rift between the two communities. As per the prosecution, for causing the bomb blast, Malegaon was chosen, because it is a Muslim-dominated area. Therefore, for maintaining harmony in the society, it is necessary to conduct in-camera hearing and restraint on publication of court proceedings.”

The journalists, represented through senior counsel Rizwan Merchant and advocate Gayatri Gokhale, said this move will gag the media from reporting and/or disseminating information which the citizens have a “right to know”. They have urged the court to reject NIA’s application.

The court said on Monday that in the interest of justice and fair hearing, only NIA and not the accused, must respond to the plea, which will be heard on August 6.

On October 30, 2018, the special court had framed charges of murder, abetment and conspiracy for the blast against Bharatiya Janata Party MP Pragya Singh Thakur, Lieutenant Colonel Sameer Kulkarni, retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Ajay Rahilkar and Sudhakar Chaturvedi.

The court had held that all the accused conspired from January 2008 to plant a bomb with RDX on a motorcycle on September 29, 2008 which killed six people and injured 101.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 12:13:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/malegaon-case-journalists-oppose-move-for-in-camera-trial/article28828332.ece

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