Hostile witnesses thwarted prosecution

  • Charul Shah, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 07, 2016 00:23 IST
Hasib Zuber Mulla was sentenced to 10 years in prison. (HT FILE PHOTO)

The prosecution in the 2002-03 blasts case alleged that charges relating to hatching a terrorist conspiracy, conducting training camps at Mahuli Hill and Karvi Hill, and harboring terror suspects could not

be proved as several witnesses turned hostile during the trial.

Prosecutors had relied on the statements of several villagers from Padagha, who had allegedly helped the accused reach the hills, to prove that training camps had been conducted there. Further, to prove that meetings took place between the accused and the allegation of providing shelter to the terror suspects, the prosecution had relied on statements of neighbours of the accused, who were in most cases also their relatives.

However, most of these witnesses did not support the prosecution’s case, said special public prosecutor Rohini Salian.

“The police had recorded statements of 10 to 15 witnesses who had either accompanied the accused to the hills, or helped them gather food or carry weapons. However, when they were called in to testify in court, they turned hostile. We lost many witnesses this way and that is the reason key charges could not be not proved,” Salian said.

Salian added that it is very difficult to get witnesses in the cases like this. “We had statements of witnesses who said that they had seen the terror suspects. But most of them were relatives and they turned hostile,” she said.

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