A bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre asked Centre and NIA to file their responses within one week. The bench, however, did not allow the submission of senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Indira Jaising that hearing on the bail applications of the accused persons be stayed for the time being.

The bench has also issued notice to Maharashtra government in the case. Earlier, a Supreme Court Judge had recused from hearing the plea, saying that he had represented certain accused in the matter.

The PIL, filed by social activist Harsh Mander, has accused NDA government of trying to interfere with the functioning of the prosecutor in the case by exerting 'pressure' on her to 'go soft' on the accused. It alleged that the executive was attempting to influence the judicial system.

It has alleged that NIA officials had pressured erstwhile Special Public Prosecutor in case, Rohini Salian, 'presumably' under instructions from their 'political masters'. Salian, who was SPP in the case, had alleged that an NIA officer had told her to go soft on the accused. She also claimed the same officer had told her that she would be replaced. Salian is no longer on NIA's panel of lawyers.

The petition has sought the Apex Court's intervention to ensure a fair trial as there were reasons to 'credibly fear' that executive is attempting to influence the judicial system to cave in to the pressure exerted by it in all matters, including affording protection to right-wing extremists who sympathize with its ideology.

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