Lt Colonel Prasad Purohit, an accused in the September 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, on Tuesday filed an application before a special court in Mumbai requesting that the ongoing trial be held in-camera.
Purohit claimed that the media was conducting debates and discussions on the trial proceedings which the special National Investigation Agency court had prohibited in 2019.
In his application, Purohit said the case should remain confined to the courtroom in the interest of justice and should not be allowed to be hijacked by "opinion-makers and anti-national opportunists".
In 2019, the NIA had filed a similar application before the court seeking for the trial to be held in-camera and for the media to be prohibited from reporting. The application was opposed at that time by journalists.
In October 2019, the special court rejected the NIA's application but imposed a few restrictions on media while reporting the trial.
The court had said that the media should not reveal the identity of witnesses in the case and not conduct a debate, interview or discussion of any kind in the case.
In his application filed on Tuesday, Purohit said the 2019 order passed by the court was being violated by the media and hence the permission granted to report the trial be withdrawn completely.
”It is requested that in the interest of justice and for a fair trial to be conducted, the case should remain confined to the courtroom and should not be allowed to be hijacked by opinion-makers and anti-national opportunists,” the application said.
Purohit's application was, however, opposed by another accused in the case, Sameer Kulkarni.
The court directed the NIA and the other accused to file replies to Purohit's application.
The court said it would hear the application on a later date.
The court is presently conducting a day-to-day trial in the Malegaon blast case. So far, 16 witnesses in the case have turned hostile.
Six people were killed and over 100 others were injured when an explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, a town located about 200 km away from Mumbai in the Nashik district in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.
Apart from Purohit and Kulkarni, four others, including BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur, are facing the trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the charges of committing terrorist activities and criminal conspiracy.