Wednesday just wasn’t Rakesh Maria’s day in court.
The joint commissioner of police (Crime) drew the ire of the Bombay High Court which expressed dissatisfaction over Maria’s affidavit in the case of the accused who were projected as alleged plotters to kill lawyers of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur — a key accused in the Malegaon blast case.
The division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice A.R. Joshi asked Maria why contempt should not be initiated against him.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by Kamil Anwar Ebzi alias John after he was projected as gangster Chhota Shakeel’s aide who was one of those planning to kill sadhvi’s lawyers although his remand applications show that he and three others were arrested while preparing to commit dacoity at Sigdi Restaurant in Byculla.
His lawyer, Ayaz Khan, said that a few days after the arrests, Maria addressed a press conference where he said that Ebzi and his accomplices had come to kill sadhvi’s lawyers.
Following the HC’s directions, Maria had filed an affidavit.
His counsel Ashok Mundargi informed the court that they [crime branch] had issued a press note informing about arrest of Ebzi and arrest it did not mention anything about the Sadhvi connection.
Media got the information that they were here to kill Sadhvi’s lawyers through their sources, contended Maria.
The judges then questioned as to why the subsequent remand applications of the accused did not mention that they were Shakeel aides.
So far their remand applications before the magistrate only shows that they were arrested while preparing to commit dacoity in a restaurant.
Mahesh Jethmalani — counsel for sadhvi — sought to intervene in the petition stating that the news had created fear among lawyers whether they should appear for the Malegaon accused or not. The HC has kept the matter on September 7 and said that it will consider whether to initiate contempt or not.
On July 11, there were reports that Ebzi and three others were Shakeel aides who had come to kill sadhvi’s lawyers.