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Plot against Advani: BJP slams Mumbai police
Vijay Singh in Mumbai |
August 09, 2003 03:25 IST
Last Updated: August 09, 2003 03:35 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party has demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the failure of the Mumbai police and the Maharashtra government to produce sufficient evidence against the seven men who were accused of planning to kill Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani in 2001.
All of them were freed by the trial court on August 4, 2003 for lack of evidence.
BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan told reporters in Mumbai on Friday that police had arrested the men on a tip-off from the Intelligence Bureau. They had also recorded the conversation the men purportedly had with gangster Chhota Shakeel.
Yet, they filed a first information report only four days later and did not book the men under the severe Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, which allows telephone intercepts to be admitted as evidence.
Mahajan held the government of former chief minister Vilas Deshmukh and former Mumbai police commissioner Mahesh Narayan Singh responsible for this failure.
He urged Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Deshmukh's successor, to file an appeal against the acquittals, institute a CBI inquiry into the bungling of the case, and punish those found guilty.
The state home department had asked criminal lawyer Shrikant Bhat to appear as special public prosecutor in the case, but failed to issue him a formal appointment letter, or even reply to repeated reminders from July through November.
Fed up, Bhat finally told the sessions court on December 4 that he would no longer appear in the case. This, said Mahajan, showcased the government's negligence in the case.
The BJP leader's aides distributed to the assembled reporters copies of Bhat's correspondence with the government on the subject.
On August 4, a sessions court in Mumbai had acquitted seven alleged members of the Dawood Ibrahim gang of the charge of conspiracy to kill Advani.
The accused are Akbar Hussain Shafi Hussain, Zakir Hussain Shaikh, Mohammed Hanif, Javed Khan, Srinivas Naidu alias Tohil, Mohammed Saddiq Ansari and Mohammed Sadiq Shaikh.
Acquitting them, Judge M V Marathe said the prosecution had failed to prove the charges of conspiracy and waging war against the nation.
The court had pulled up the police for its lapses noting that the FIR appeared to be 'concocted' and it did not mention that the accused had planned to kill Advani.
The court also disbelieved the public witnesses who had allegedly witnessed recovery of a pistol from Akbar Hussain.
The prosecution also failed to explain the delay in filing the FIR.
According to police, the accused had allegedly hatched a conspiracy in 2001 to kill Advani, over meetings in Bharat Cafe in suburban Ghatkopar.
Police also alleged the accused had gone to Lucknow as the Union home minister was to visit the city in September 2001.
Seven other accused were shown in the charge sheet as absconding and would be tried separately whenever they are arrested. They include Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel, Sagir Ali, Sabir Ali Shaikh, Farooq Davdiwala and Anwar Alias Tanveer.