Malegaon Blast: NIA seeks protection for 38 witnesses

The NIA on Friday told the Bombay High Court that it will be filing an application before a lower court seeking police protection for 38 "sensitive" prosecution witnesses. (File Photo)

The NIA on Friday told the Bombay High Court that it will be filing an application before a lower court seeking police protection for 38 "sensitive" prosecution witnesses in the September 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case.

Bhopal BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and five others are accused in the case.

They are facing trial under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code on terror and conspiracy charges.

The National Investigation Agency made its submission before a division bench of justices I A Mahanty and A M Badar hearing a petition filed by Purohit seeking non-truncated copies of the witness statements that are part of the charge sheet.

NIA counsel Sandesh Patil told the bench that out of the 475 witnesses, the statement of 186 is truncated.

"Out of these 186, 38 witnesses are sensitive witnesses. They need to be given protection and their evidence will have to be recorded in-camera," Patil said.

"We are ready to give the accused (Purohit) non- truncated statements of the remaining witnesses," he said.

He added that the agency will be filing an application before the special NIA court, conducting the trial in the case, for protection cover for these 38 witnesses.

The bench then adjourned hearing on Purohit's plea for two weeks.

Six people were killed and 100 injured when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in the North Maharashtra town of Malegaon, about 200 km from here, on September 29, 2008. E

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