A court in Lilongwe has remanded until Monday pending a bail ruling 67 Indian workers who were arrested on Wednesday at Salima Sugar Company.
The foreign workers were arrested by Immigration authorities on allegations that they did not have working permits.
The Lilongwe senior resident magistrates Shyreen Chirwa Yona and Florence Msekandiana have reserved their ruling for the bail application until Monday.
Only the state and defense lawyers were allowed in the court while all the suspects waited outside the courtroom as a preventive measure against covid-19.
Defense lawyer Joseph Chiumia asked for bail as well as extend time for the start of the hearing of the case to allow the defense team prepare the case.
He accused the government of double standards, arguing the same government invited the Indian workers, saying it even chartered a plane for them because commercial flights were grounded due to the Covid-19 pandemic but now the same government was deporting them.
But state lawyer Binwell Kachingwe said the fact that the suspects did not have work permits is proof enough that they were illegally working in the country.
However the state maintained that it is a normal practice to have foreigners work without work permits while the permits are being processed.
Outside the courtroom, the Indian workers looked confused and seemed not to know what was going on.
Meanwhile, the 67 have to since been remanded at Maula prison.