A key accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case has asked for the production of 14 defence witnesses in the TADA court, including three convicted accused in the same case, to support his claim of disputed identity and false implication in the case.
Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, accused of being present when the arms and ammunition had landed in the city, has claimed that he is not the purported accused in the case, but is Hamza Abdul Rashid Khan.
The defence witness list included Salim Moinuddin Sheikh who was convicted and sentenced to life for being present when the arms and ammunition had landed in the city and is lodged in Nashik Prison.
The second convicted accused, Mohammed Kasam Lajpuriya who was allegedly present in Dighi jetty, Shrivardhan tehsil of Raigad district and is lodged in Nashik prison.
The accused also included convicted accused Zamir Kadri in his list of defence witnesses. Kadri, who was accused of conspiracy, recently died in Nashik jail. “We have called the witnesses to prove his innocence,” said advocate Abdul Wahab Khan, appearing for the accused.
The first of the 14 defence witnesses in the case, Monday, fainted in court while he was being cross-examined.
Zubin Contractor, working with an advertising marketing firm, did not recognise the accused in court on Monday.
According to his statement, Contractor studied in the same school as the accused between 1975 to 1985 and also used to play tennis with him.
The witness deposed that he could recollect Feroz Hamza Khan, but none of the people present in court resembled him.
During his cross examination, the special public prosecutor Deepak Salvi questioned the witness regarding a Rs 26-crore scam against a firm Contractor was associated with.
However, before the cross examination was completed, the witness fainted in court.
The witness had asked for a glass of water and a chair to sit in the witness box, minutes after his cross examination began.
The witness eventually fainted and was taken out from the dock.
The witness sought a further date to complete his cross examination citing professional commitments.
The court will examine the witness on August 13. The accused has also asked for Contractor’s mother, Nancy, as a defence witness in the case.
According to Contractor’s statement, Nancy was a teacher at the school Feroz studied in.
However, Contractor Monday claimed that Nancy is suffering from memory loss and is undergoing treatment.
The accused, in his written statement to the court, said he was innocent as the CBI has “failed to arrest Feroz and they falsely implicated me, Hamza. I am a victim of mistaken identity in the present case”.