Malegaon blast victim, media oppose NIA plea to hold in-camera trial

Mumbai: A 2008 Malegoan blast victim on Friday opposed the prosecution's plea to the special anti-terror court here to hold in camera trial of the "communally sensitive" case, saying terror has no religion.

"A terrorist is a terrorist. Why make it communal? What has the terror got to do with religion?" said victim's counsel B A Desai, opposing the NIA's plea to hold in camera trial of the case on the ground that it was a "communally sensitive" one.

The victim's counsel also opposed the NIA plea, contending that he feared a collusion between the prosecution and the accused if the trial is held in camera.

"We want the trial to be held openly as we fear collusion between the prosecution and the accused. The prosecution is protecting the accused, not the victims by wanting to make it in camera," he argued.

Several media persons and one of the blast victims have filed applications opposing the NIA plea for in camera proceeding. While media persons have said in their application that their fundamental rights will be violated

if the trial is held in camera, the victim's counsel Desai said his client fear collusion between the prosecution and the accused persons. BJP MP from Bhopal, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col Prasad Purohit are among the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.

The blast, which took place on September 29, 2008, killed six people and injured over 100 others when a bomb attached to a motorcycle went off near a mosque.

The trial court has so far examined around 130 witnesses in the case. The prosecution has named 475 witnesses. The accused have been charged under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Indian Penal Code.

NIA counsel Avinash Rasal argued that when the case is of a serious and sensitive nature, it is necessary to take precautionary measures. "We are not saying the media should not publish any news article on the trial.

We are only saying when the trial proceedings are on, there should be no interference. The media can take necessary information from the NIA's investigating office present in court for writing their article," Rasal said. Special NIA Judge V S Padalkar will continue the hearing on Saturday.

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