Upholding NIA's apprehension of danger to the lives of witnesses, a special court in Hyderabad has banned the publication of proceedings before it in the cases relating to the Hyderabad twin blasts of February 21, in which Indian Mujahideen leader Yasin Bhatkal is the key accused.
The National Investigation Agency court in Hyderabad issued the prohibitory order against publishing of court proceedings by media houses without its prior permission following an application by the NIA.
In its order, the NIA special court observed "...it is just and necessary to give direction to the print and electronic media not to publish any of the proceedings in this case in RC No. 1/2013 and RC 2/2013 of NIA, Hyderabad including the publishing and telecasting in any manner touching the documents of on going investigation of this case without prior permission from this Court."
The court gave directions to the print and electronic media not to publish any proceedings without its prior permission.
Ahmed Zarar alias Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akthar alias Haddi, who were arrested along the Indo-Nepal border in August, and their associates of Indian Mujahideen are prime accused in the case.
Senior Public Prosecutor, appearing for the NIA, submitted before the court that the print and electronic media has been publishing the day-to-day investigation and disclosures said to have been made by the accused and the same is causing damage to the ongoing investigation of the twin blasts cases of Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad.
The NIA petition said that there is "likelihood of causing disappearance of evidence by the absconding accused" in order to defeat the purpose of investigation.
"There is every possibility of danger to the lives of the witnesses in this case from the absconding accused and their associates. Therefore, it is just and necessary to pass restraining orders against the print and electronic media from publishing and telecasting of proceedings of investigation without the permission of the court," it said.
Citing the NIA Act, the petitioner said the court can give directions for holding the proceedings in-camera and in writing if it is satisfied that the life of witnesses are in danger and for keeping the identity and addresses of such witnesses secret.
The court said it was necessary to issue the prohibitory order on publishing the proceedings of the court in the twin blasts cases in Hyderabad as the investigation agency submitted that if the names of the witnesses and details of investigation are published, there is every possibility that the absconding accused and their associates may cause disappearance of evidence and harm the witnesses.
18 people were killed and 133 injured in the blasts.