The Gujarat High Court Friday rejected the plea of Akshardham terror attack accused Shaukatullah Ghauri that two prosecution witnesses be also treated as accused.
A division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and R.H. Shukla rejected the plea as being not maintainable.
In his petition, Ghauri contended that the two witnesses - Ashfak Bhavnagari and Jalal Patel - were present in the meetings in Saudi Arabia where the attack was planned and had also collected money for terrorist activities.
Ghauri was arrested by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch from the Hyderabad International Airport July 18, 2009 for his alleged involvement in arranging finances and masterminding the attack on the temple Sep 25, 2002, in which over 30 people were killed before the two terrorists were gunned down.
Advocate B.M.Gupta, who appeared for Ghauri, argued that Bhavnagari and Patel were involved in planning and providing logistic support for the attack and thus should be held as accused in the case.
Opposing the plea, J.M. Panchal, who appeared for the state, contended that under section 50 of the Prevention of Terrorist Activities (POTA) Act, it was not the designated judge's jurisdiction to take cognizance in involvement of the witnesses and it was not possible to draw any inference that they had participated in any terrorist activities.
Earlier, a designated court had dismissed the petition stating that it was not in its jurisdiction. Ghauri had then filed a plea in the high court.
Six people have already been convicted in the case, of whom three have been sentenced to death. Of the total about 30 accused, over 20 are still absconding.