An Ahmedabad special court conducting the trial of the 2008 Gujarat serial bomb blasts case on Thursday rejected an application by the accused that had sought that the defence be permitted to examine editors, reporters and photographers of certain newspapers at the time.
The 26 July, 2008 blasts are alleged to have been carried out by the Indian Mujahideen across several sites in Ahmedabad and Surat, in which 58 people were killed and more than 200 were injured.
According to a source, the accused had prayed before the special designated judge to examine reporters so as to authenticate their sources for the reportage published in the period following the commission of offence and prior to the arrest of the accused.
As recorded in the order of October 22 by Judge Ambalal R Patel, who has been specially designated for the speedy trial of the bomb blast cases, the reporters and photographers whom the defence wanted to examine included those from vernacular dailies Sandesh and Divya Bhaskar, and English dailies The Indian Express and Ahmedabad Mirror, pertaining to reportage involving alleged purchase of timers (for bombs) and site of alleged training of the accused, in editions of these dailies in the period of six to 12 days, prior to the arrest of the accused on August 16, 2008. As per the accused’s application, the reportage in these dailies pointed out inconsistencies in the case.
The application was opposed by the state government through its public prosecutors on the ground that similar applications had been filed earlier which had been rejected by the trial court.
The court while rejecting the application, stated in its order that any information that is disseminated in daily newspapers is provided by the reporters who “manage to bring information from somewhere and by some means and editors publish stories brought by reporters and it may be the case that the said information may not be true…”
Now the accused have also moved an application seeking that the concerned court officials be permitted as defence witnesses in the case, a decision on which is expected on Monday, according to an advocate representing the accused.
Fifty eight people were killed and around 200 injured in the serial blasts across Ahmedabad on July 26, 2008.
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