THE LAST witness in the 28-year-old case of an alleged conspiracy to murder industrialist Nusli Wadia will be examined in Sindhudurg by the CBI at his home since he is bed-ridden. The witness, a septuagenarian resident of Kudal in Sindhudurg, nearly 500 km from Mumbai, will be examined in the second week of September with a team of CBI prosecutors and officials travelling to his home.
“The witness in Sindhudurg is one of the police officials who was involved in recording of a conversation on a cassette between the accused. We will be taking our technical equipment to be able to make him hear the conversation recorded on a cassette for identification,” said special CBI prosecutor Kavita Patil. The CID had begun investigating the case in 1989 – which was eventually transferred to the CBI in the same year – where the main accused, Kirti Ambani, a former general manager with Reliance Industries Ltd was accused of conspiring to murder Wadia in 1988-89. The other accused include Arjun Babaria, Ivan Sequeira and Ramesh Jagothia. Ambani died in March this year after a heart attack.
On April 21, the special CBI court had given directions to the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Sindhudurg district that he or she will be “empowered” to make suitable arrangements for recording evidence of the witness and submit a report to the court. The court had also directed the accused to take note and submit their “interrogatory questions” if they want to cross-examine the witness.
Earlier, the CBI had informed the court that there are in all three witnesses it wants to examine who are bed-ridden and unable to attend court in Mumbai. The CBI had also submitted that their presence on video-conferencing also cannot be secured since they cannot travel to the place of arrangement of the facility. The court had then allowed the CBI to examine two other witnesses in Borivali and Bandra due to similar circumstances. Patil said that the evidence of the other two witnesses was concluded in the past month. She added that with the investigating officer of the case already examined, this witness is likely to be the last witness in the case by the CBI.
In June 2016, Wadia, chairman of the Wadia group, had deposed as a witness in the case claiming that he was informed by the police about a conspiracy to murder him and also that his two sons were under a possible kidnap threat.