FPJ Impact: Mumbai court rejects NIA plea for in-camera proceedings in 2008 Malegaon blast case

A special court in Mumbai rejected the National Investigation Agency's plea for in-camera hearings in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.

A group 11 journalists from various news media houses, two of whom are from The Free Press Journal, had filed intervention applications urging the court not to conduct the proceedings in-camera.

The case, which has been going on for over a decade now, has Member of Parliament Pragya Thakur and Lt. Col SP Purohit as the prime accused, along with five other Hindu extremists. Earlier in July, NIA had urged the special court dealing with the case to conduct the entire trial in-camera -- which means without the presence of media or any other person except the accused, their lawyers and the prosecution.

Special NIA Judge V S Padalkar said conducting the trial in a "transparent manner" was among the reasons for rejecting the NIA's plea. An in-camera hearing is conducted in private with only the judge, lawyers, accused and witnesses concerned in attendance.

The proceedings of such hearing are not made known to the media or the members of the public. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col Prasad Purohit are among the accused facing trial in connection with a blast near a mosque in Malegaon town of Nashik district in Maharashtra on September 29, 2008, in which six people were killed and nearly 100 injured.

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