A SPECIAL court on Thursday rejected an application filed by an accused in a terror case seeking a probe under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act after a witness had claimed that his one-year-old daughter was undressed and made to sit on a heated car bonnet by ATS officers. While rejecting the plea, the court told the lawyers that the plea cannot be considered at this stage.
The witness, who begun his deposition in the case in June and made the claim during cross-examination by defence lawyers in September, is yet to conclude his evidence. The defence lawyers will continue with his cross-examination next week. Special public prosecutor for the NIA, Prakash Shetty, had claimed that the plea was made to “intimidate” the witness as a “pressure tactic”.
The application moved by Malvani resident, Mohsin Sayyed, who is facing trial for allegedly being influenced by terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS) ideology and helping others join it, had said in his plea that the witness statement showed that prima facie an offence under POCSO Act was committed. It had further said that since it is mandatory for any person who has knowledge about an offence under the Act to report the same, it was “incumbent” to report the incident to relevant authorities. The plea had sought the statement to be forwarded to the registrar of the sessions court for further action. During his evidence, the witness had said that when the ATS was conducting a probe in the case, he was called to its Juhu office, where his daughter was undressed and made to sit on a bonnet of a heated car.
The court also rejected Sayyed’s plea seeking to initiate proceedings against the witness as an accused, claiming his statement shows that he had committed the same offences that Sayyed is facing trial for.
Editor’s note: In accordance with a Supreme Court order, any information that could lead to the identification of a victim of rape and/or sexual assault, or a child in conflict with the law, cannot be disclosed or revealed in any manner.