After Yakub Memon's execution, it won’t be easy for the prosecution to prove its case against the remaining accused in the 1993 serial blasts. It will have to address several doubts about admissibility of evidence, which was recorded by the previous court against the new set of accused.
The key evidence against seven accused —Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Firoz Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Karimullah Shaikh, Mohammad Tahir Merchant alias Tahir Taklya and Abdul Qayyum — is the confession statement of co-accused, some convicts, and a few witnesses.
Before proceeding further with the arguments, the prosecution will have to answer a few crucial questions.
The first one is whether evidence of witnesses recorded in the previous trial can be used against the accused, who were not declared absconders, but arrested later in the case.
The other question is whether the confession statement of an accused, who was tried earlier, be used against another one, as their trial was separated.The Tada court had separated the trials of the absconding accused ruling that the evidence of the witnesses in the trial could be used against the accused listed as absconders.
Accordingly, the evidence was allowed to be taken on record with the condition that the accused be allowed to cross-examine the witnesses.
Dossa had moved an application alleging he was not declared an absconder, but was arrested at a later stage during further investigation. Dossa’s advocate Rizwan Merchant had argued that as the trial was separated from the main case and he was not declared absconder, the evidence recorded in the previous trial could not be used against him.
The accused also contended that the confession statement of the co-accused, who were part of the first trial, could not be used against them, as they are not tried together.
The court had held that both issues would be decided at the stage of final judgment.
Sources from the prosecution agency said they have been trying to find answers to these questions.
Police sources said if the prosecution fails to answer the legal issues, key evidence such as statement of approvers and confession statements will not be relied on. “Approvers’ evidence was recorded at the start of the trial. Hence, it can’t be used against these accused. If this is held against the prosecution, it will be tough to prove that these accused participated in the conspiracy. Same is the case with the confession statements,” said a police officer.
Read:Yakub Memon's hanging sparks debate over death penalty