A special CBI court Tuesday rejected the petition filed by 26/11 terror attack accused Zabiuddin Ansari seeking to recall David Headley for cross-examination. Headley, who has been made an approver in the case, was examined in February and March before the special court through a videolink from an undisclosed location in United States.
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Ansari, the lone accused in the second phase of the trial after the conviction of Pakistani national Ajmal Kasab, had approached the court in April pleading for Headley to be recalled. His argument was that he had not been able to give instructions to his lawyers to cross-examine Headley since he was produced before court through video-conference from Arthur Road jail.
Arguing on his behalf, Advocate Wahab Khan said it was within Ansari’s rights as an accused to recall a witness for cross-examination to ensure no prejudice was caused. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, however, opposed the plea stating that enough opportunity was given to Ansari to cross-examine Headley. He also said the plea was made to cause delay in the trial.
Special Judge G A Sanap announced Tuesday that the plea had been rejected. Ansari had sought to be shifted out of solitary confinement claiming that it was affecting his mental health. He has also sought CCTV footage of March 2015 from Arthur Road jail stating that officials from other investigating agencies had tortured him. Ansari also wanted to be present in court during the trial. The court rejected these applications too.
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Ansari, who was presented in the special CBI court through a videolink from Arthur Road jail, told the court that he had not been taken out of his cell for over 15 days.