September 4, 2019 2:11:51 am
LIEUTENANT COLONEL Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, on Tuesday supported the NIA in seeking in-camera trial on several grounds, including his safety and national security.
Purohit, through his lawyer Shrikant Shivade, on Tuesday submitted before the special NIA court that an open trial would mean access to all, including “gangsters and terrorists”.
The NIA had sought an in-camera trial last month citing the “sensitive nature” of the case.
A blast had taken place at Malegaon in Nashik on September 29, 2008, causing the death of six persons and injuring 101. Over 120 witnesses have deposed so far.
The NIA had moved a plea seeking to restrain the media from publishing the proceedings and making the trial in-camera. A group of 11 media organisations, including The Indian Express, have opposed the NIA plea stating that the prosecution had not submitted any application alleging apprehension by a witness and that there is no instance of disharmony due to reporting of the trial.
Shivade submitted on Tuesday that since he worked as a military intelligence officer, he was on the target list of “anti-nationals” and faced threats to his life. He argued that no prejudice will be caused if the proceedings are held in-camera, without access to anyone but the prosecution and accused, which include Purohit, BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur and five others.
Shivade also said that classified documents from the Ministry of Defence will be part of the trial, which cannot be made accessible to any outsider.