August 20, 2019 2:10:59 am
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday said the application filed by journalists against its plea, to make the proceedings in the 2008 Malegaon blast in-camera, cannot be allowed as they have no locus in the case. This was stated in a reply by the NIA on the application filed by journalists, including from The Indian Express, on August 5, opposing the restrain sought on publication of any proceedings in the trial.
It further said while it is “in favour of freedom of speech and expression, freedom of the press and right to information”, considering the “sensitive” nature of the case, the NIA has filed the plea for in-camera hearing. “It is submitted that these journalists are not party to the proceedings of this case; therefore, they have no locus in the matter for interference at this stage. The intervention has been sought to delay the proceedings and to disturb the smooth working of the court,” the NIA reply filed through special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal states.
The NIA filed an application before the court earlier this month seeking to make the proceedings of the trial against the accused —BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur, Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit and five others — in-camera. So far, over 120 witnesses have deposed in the trial, with the proceedings part of an open hearing and no restrain on publication.
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