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2 accused in Mumbai blasts case seek discharge
January 18, 2006 15:34 IST
Last Updated: January 18, 2006 15:38 IST
In a new twist to the August 2003 Mumbai twin blasts case, two of the accused have urged a special court to discharge them on the basis of recommendations of the Central Review Committee set up under Prevention Of Terrorism Act.
But the prosecution has opposed their plea saying that there was sufficient material against the duo to nail them in the crime.
After hearing the arguments advanced by both sides, Designated Judge A P Bhangalex has kept the matter for January 23 for orders.
The accused Mohammed Hussain Mohammed Shaikh and Mohammed Rizwan Mohammed Ansari pleaded that the Central Review Committee had observed that there was no prima facie material against them in the bomb blasts at Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar on August 25, 2003, in which 52 persons were killed and 184 injured.
However, the prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam opposed the plea saying there was adequate evidence against the accused.
The duo had earlier approached the trial court, which rejected their plea for discharge. They filed an appeal in the Bombay High Court which, on October 24, 2005, asked the prosecution to state his opinion in the trial court on withdrawal of prosecution against the two accused.
Accordingly, Nikam filed an application stating that charge had already been framed against the accused and trial had begun with prosecution examining 29 witnesses in the case.
The prosecutor pleaded that the central review committee had gone beyond its scope of powers by going into the merits of the case.
Nikam said the Review Committee did not consider the value of extra judicial confession of the accused in proper perspective. He said the accused had admitted their guilt in front of their friend who was a prosecution witness.
The prosecutor argued that the Review Committee did not attach any importance in respect of recovery of RDX explosives and detonators from the possession of the accused. Instead, the committee went into the merits of the case and held implied that the accused could not be connected with the recovery of explosives and detonators.
Nikam said the committee had wrongly given its findings about sufficiency of evidence before the commencement of the trial, which he argued, was illegal and beyond its scope.
The prosecutor also said that the committee had discarded the confession of the accused recorded under section 32 of POTA simply because they had retracted before the chief metropolitan magistrate.
By discarding the confession of the accused, the committee had implied held that such confession was inadmissible and travel beyond its scope as per the law laid down by Supreme Court in S K Shukla and others versus state of Uttar Pradesh, the prosecution said.
"The role of the review committee is very limited as it has to see a prima facie case and need not go into the merits of the case as regards evidence. The committee also could not go into the aspect whether the confession of an accused was admissible or not," Nikam said.
Prosecutor Nikam contended that the two accused were found in possession of RDX explosives and detonators, some of which were used in the bomb blasts at Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar in th city on August 25, 2003.He said the conspiracy was hatched in Dubai to cause the explosions and that the two accused were also part of he conspiracy.