A special National Investigation Agency court in Mumbai on Thursday said that the trial in the 2008 Malegaon blast case will be conducted on a day-to-day basis starting December 4, Bar and Bench reported.

Earlier this week, the court had directed all accused to appear before it on Thursday. However, four of the seven accused, including Bharatiya Janata Party MP Pragya Singh Thakur failed to do so, according to the Hindustan Times. Lawyers of the four absent accused filed an application pleading an exemption, citing the coronavirus situation and health concerns. The court accepted the plea, but directed the accused to be present on December 19.

During Thursday’s hearing, the prosecution brought an independent witness, who was partly examined before the government imposed a nationwide lockdown in March to rein in the pandemic. The court directed the prosecution to resume the recording the evidence from Friday, when the witness will be cross-examined.

Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court on Thursday clarified that it has not stayed the trial in the case, and said the trial must go on, reported PTI. A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik was hearing a plea filed by Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, another accused, seeking that charges against him be quashed. The case in the High Court has been adjourned till December 14.

Prasad had challenged the NIA’s action to charge him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act without prior sanction of the Central government, as he is presently a member of the Indian Army.

Six people were killed and 100 injured when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon in north Maharashtra on September 29, 2008.