Malegaon blast: Bail hearings to be conducted in-camera

The National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) senior counsel Avinash Rasal also did not object to the application.

Written by Srinath Rao | Mumbai | Published:September 17, 2015 2:46 am

Accepting a plea filed by a defence counsel, a special court Wednesday ordered that hearings of bail applications of the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast be conducted in-camera.

Advocate Shrikant Shivde, who is representing Lt Col Prasad Purohit, filed an application Wednesday, citing that he did not want confessional and witness statements, part of the chargesheet filed by the Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad (ATS) and bail arguments, to be reported.

Judge S D Tekale of the special court then ordered all bail hearings to be conducted in-camera from Wednesday. On Wednesday, Shivde concluded arguments for Purohit and another accused Swami Amritanand Dev Tirth or Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi.

Speaking to Judge Tekale, Shivde argued that he feared that bail proceedings could be “misrepresented, “misquoted” or “quoted out of context”. Concluding his arguments, Shivde said that publication “may have serious repercussions, apart from raising questions on the safety of the accused.”

In his application, Shivde stated that confessional statements and witness statements contained “communal material” which could lead to trouble in the current festive period.

The National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) senior counsel Avinash Rasal also did not object to the application.

“There are sections of the NIA Act that allow for in-camera hearings,” Rasal said, concurring with Shivde that in-camera proceedings were being carried out for “public good”. The court is set to hear bail arguments for accused Rakesh Dhawade Monday.

Bail arguments for accused Major Ramesh Upadhyay had concluded earlier this week. The prosecution is also expected to file its replies to the bail applications next week.

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