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Bilkis Bano case: 9 witnesses to be quizzed
May 25, 2007 15:55 IST
Nine defence witnesses would be examined from June 4 in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case and the massacre of members of the minority community at Radhanpur Village of Dahod in Gujarat on March 3, 2002, in the aftermath of the Godhra train carnage.
Defence advocates had submitted the list of nine witnesses in the court of Additional Sessions Judge U D Salvi, who is presiding over the trial, on the last occasion.
Judge Salvi issued summons to the witnesses and then fixed June four for commencement of their examination.
The court had concluded recording statements of the accused on May 19.
The prosecution had examined 72 witnesses out of more than 150, whose names were cited in the list.
The Supreme Court had transferred the trial of the case from Gujarat to Maharashtra on August 6, 2005, following fear expressed by Bilkis Bano that 'witnesses and the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the case, would come under harm in Gujarat'.
Of the 20 accused, Judge U D Salvi framed charges against 19 and separated the trial of accused Dr Sangeeta Prasad as she was under treatment.
The conspiracy was allegedly hatched between February 28, 2002 and March 3, 2002.
Out of the 20 accused, 12 had allegedly attacked victims and gang-raped Bilkis Bano, who was six-months pregnant. The attackers also sexually molested Bano's family members and assaulted them. Of the 17 attacked, eight died, while six others are reported missing.
Three of them -- Bilkis Bano, master Hussain and Sadaam -- survived the massacre.
Six police officers have been charged with shielding the guilty, while a doctor couple, Arun Kumar and Sangeeta Prasad, are accused of destroying evidence.