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HC restrains SIT from conducting scientific tests

January 12, 2004 23:40 IST

The Bombay high court on Monday restrained the Special Investigation Team probing the fake stamp paper scam from conducting scientific tests on accused Dattatraya Dal and Manoj Mehta for a week.

Hearing their plea, Justice A S Aguiar allowed both the accused to withdraw their appeals against the order of a special court allowing such tests and instructed them to file a petition before a division bench as a constitutional point was involved.

The duo would do so next week their lawyer Dipesh Mehta told PTI.

Earlier, two other accused, MLA Anil Gote and Ramachandra Rama Reddy, had also challenged the December 15 order of a Pune court allowing the SIT to perform various scientific tests, including lie detector and narco-analysis, on them.

Deferring the matter to January 15, the high court allowed the SIT to make preparations for conducting the scientific tests but restrained it from injecting chemicals or drugs.

Defence counsel Dipesh Mehta argued that these tests involved injecting chemicals in the body and the accused could not be forced to take them. The tests were violative of the Constitution, which said an accused could not be forced to become a witness against himself.

The accused pleaded that the results of these tests could not be held as evidence as the prosecution had promised absence of SIT officers during these tests and the materials collected by doctors could not be used as evidence as they were not part of the investigating team.

Gote on Monday also moved the Bombay high court challenging applicability of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act and urged for quashing the provisions under which he had been booked.

They have been charged under sections 3(2), 2(1)(a)(b) and 24, which deal with indulging in conspiracy with a organised crime syndicate, abetting a crime and public servants failing to discharge their duties, respectively.

Sharma and Gote said the provisions of MCOCA were illegal and ultra vires of the Constitution.

The duo prayed that MCOCA provisions applied on them should be declared illegal and unconstitutional.

Gote argued that he was not a public servant and hence these sections did not apply to him.

A high court bench deferred the matter to January 15 for hearing along with a similar plea of former Mumbai police commissioner R S Sharma.

Meanwhile, in Pune, Deputy Commissioner of Police Pradeep Sawant was on Monday remanded to magisterial custody till January 27.

He had been produced in the court of Judicial Magistrate M N Bondre on expiry of his police custody.

Sawant has filed an application saying he suffers from high blood pressure, heart problem and spondylitis and as such should be allowed to avail treatment at Sassoon Hospital.

The court asked the authorities to get him medically examined by the jail doctors and submit a report on January 14.      

In Bangalore, the Karnataka Stamp Investigation Team (StampIT) on Monday filed an application with the special court seeking custody of prime accused Abdul Karim Telgi for interrogation following reports that he would disclose the names of the 'big sharks; if allowed to make a confession.

A newspaper report quoted a letter by Telgi and quoted his counsel Abdul Rehman as saying that Telgi was ready to make a confessional statement in the presence of a senior police official and his advocate.

The judge posted the application for further hearing to January 17.

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