The special NIA court allowed the prosecution to bring photocopies of missing witnesses statements and confessions of the accused on record and lead evidence in support of the same, as none of the missing files have been traced so far.
Three months after the NIA moved a plea to consider the photocopies of the statement of 13 witnesses and two confessions statement of the accused in 2008 Malegaon blast case, as part of secondary evidence, the special court set up for the case finally allowed the plea.
These documents include confession statements of two accused, namely Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey alias Swami Amrutanand Devtirth and Rakesh Dhawde, and statements of 11 witnesses, mostly connected with the conspiracy meetings held between the accused persons, recorded before the magistrate.
“The court has finally allowed our plea. We are now allowed to lead evidence in support of these statements to substantiate the same,” said special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal.
Six months after the controversy of statements going missing, the NIA in September 2016 had moved court claiming that the agency had no role to play in the incident of the missing papers and the original statements were in the custody of the court.
“It is on record that the papers of this case were sent to various courts time-to-time by the court staff, including Sessions court at Nashik and the Supreme Court of India in different matters pending in the court as per the direction of the court. These said documents/case papers were in the custody of the MCOCA/NIA court and were sent to various courts as per their direction by the court staff. The prosecution had no access to these original documents,” NIA claimed in its the three-page application submitted before the special court.
The agency pleaded that since these statements are not traceable and the proceeding of the case is conducted on a daily basis, the secondary copies of the original statements be taken on record.