A key witness in the 26/11 attacks case who had deposed against accused Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed at the trial failed to appear before the court on Friday with the prosecution saying that he was "missing".
The witness, Nurudin Shaikh, on Thursday told the court that the accused -- Faheem and Sabauddin -- had met him in Nepal and in his presence they discussed about the maps of some locations in Mumbai, which were later targeted by militants during the November 26 attacks last year.
The court had called the witness today for cross-examination at 11 am but he failed to turn up.
Special public prosecutor Ujjawal Nikam told the court that crime branch officials had gone to Goregaon residence of the witness to fetch him but his wife had said that Shaikh had left home early morning, saying that he has to go to the court.
"This is a serious matter," judge M L Tahaliyani observed and said he would decide later on what steps the court should take in the matter.
Nikam also said that the identity of the witness had been kept secret earlier and was disclosed to the defence lawyer only on Thursday for cross-examination.
According to crime branch, the witness is a childhood friend of Faheem and is staying in the same locality where Fahim stayed in the city.
Faheem and Sabauddin, both Indian nationals, are facing trial along with Pakistani national Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab.
Shaikh on Thursday had told the court that maps of some locations in Mumbai were made by the duo at the instance of wanted accused Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.