The Bombay High Court Monday sought to know from the National Investigating Agency (NIA) how the agency and the trial court had verified the authenticity of the photocopies of witnesses’ statements they had relied on in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case.
A division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice A S Gadkari was hearing a bunch of appeals filed by accused Sameer Kulkarni. He had challenged the decision of the special NIA court, permitting the NIA to bring photocopies of missing witnesses’ statements on record.
The bench questioned the NIA counsel as to how did the investigators and the trial court decide that the copies were of original statements and how did they verify it.
The NIA counsel told the court that it will take instructions on the issue and inform the court. The court allowed their request and posted the matter on Wednesday.
In April 2016, the trial court had been informed that original documents — including 13 witness statements recorded before the magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code and two statements of the accused recorded under MCOCA — were untraceable. In January 2017, the trial court had allowed the NIA to use available copies as secondary proof in place of papers that went missing.