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Sanjay can't appear as a court witness

January 27, 2003 18:40 IST

In a setback to the prosecution, a Mumbai special court on Monday rejected its plea to examine film actor Sanjay Dutt as a 'court witness' in the case of alleged Bollywood nexus with the underworld.

Designated judge A P Bhangale, however, held that the actor could be examined as a 'prosecution witness' instead of a 'court witness'.

The judge allowed the Mumbai police to conduct further investigation in the case under section 173 (8) of the Criminal Procedure Code by recording Dutt's statement and examining him as a prosecution witness.

A prosecution witness goes through examination-in-chief, which has its limitations. The right to cross-examine him lies with the defence, and the lawyers and prosecution can cross-examine him only if he turned hostile, defence lawyer Majeed Memon said.

Defence lawyers, representing the accused, Bharat Shah, Nasim Rizvi, Abdul Rahim Allah Baksh and Mohammed Shamshuddin alias Bhatija, opposed the prosecution's plea on the ground that Dutt should have been cited as 'prosecution witness' if his evidence was so crucial to the case.

Prosecutor Rohini Salian, reacting to the order, said, "We still have the right to examine him as prosecution witness and shall exercise this option."

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