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Friday, January 28, 2022

Malegaon blast case: Lt Col Purohit seeks ban on media, social media users reporting court proceedings

Purohit's plea said that all leading mainstream electronic media agencies are conducting debates and discussions about the case in contravention of a previous order by the trial court.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: January 12, 2022 2:20:15 am
malegaon blastSo far, 222 witnesses have deposed in the case. These include victims of the blast that took place on September 29, 2008 leading to the death of six and injuries to over 100. (File photo)

In the ongoing trial of the 2008 Malegaon blast case, accused Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit on Tuesday sought a ban on “all types of existing media, social media users” from reporting “anything and everything” related to the case till the conclusion of the trial. Following this, Special Judge Prashant Sitre directed the NIA and the intervener on behalf of a blast victim to file a reply.

Purohit’s plea said that all leading mainstream electronic media agencies are conducting debates and discussions about the case in contravention of a previous order by the trial court.

In 2019, the NIA had sought to make the proceedings in-camera, restricting the media from covering the daily proceedings. The trial court had then rejected the NIA application. It had said that a criteria in rejecting the plea for in-camera proceedings is conducting the trial in a transparent manner.

An intervention filed by journalists, including from The Indian Express, opposing the NIA’s plea was partly allowed. The court had then said that the media cannot name witnesses and report the trial in a factual way without adding personal or editorial note. It also said that no debates and discussions should be held. The court had added that if there is any violation, legal action would be taken.

According to Purohit’s plea, no media personnel should be allowed in the courtroom. “It is requested that in the interest of justice and conduct of fair trial, the case should be confined to the courtroom and not be allowed to be highjacked by opinion makers and anti-national opportunists,” the plea added.

So far, 222 witnesses have deposed in the case. These include victims of the blast that took place on September 29, 2008, leading to the death of six and injuries to over 100. Sixteen of these witnesses have turned hostile, including those connected with Purohit and the organisation allegedly linked to him, Abhinav Bharat trust. Seven persons – Purohit, BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur, retired major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi – are facing trial on charges including Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Kulkarni, who was present in court on Tuesday, opposed Purohit’s plea.

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