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Produce witnesses faster: judge

The special sessions court hearing the 26/11 attack case pulled up the Crime Branch on Wednesday for not producing an extra witness and directed the police to speed up the production of evidence so that it can be completed by end of September.

The special sessions court hearing the 26/11 attack case pulled up the Crime Branch on Wednesday for not producing an extra witness and directed the police to speed up the production of evidence so that it can be completed by end of September.

“You keep five witnesses present in court and out your special public prosecutor discharges one of them,leaving just four to depose. The court proceedings get over by 3.30 pm everyday. The speed has gone down,” special judge M L Tahaliyani told investigating officer Ramesh Mahale.

Judge Tahaliyani made the observation early on Wednesday,after he was informed that five witnesses,including one who had been held hostage at Taj Hotel,would be examined. “I will have to personally take charge of the situation now,” the judge said. To Mahale,he said,“You keep at least seven witness present on Thursday. I want them present by 11.30 am.”

The court was also unhappy that the prosecution failed to examine any eyewitnesses to the firing at Café Leopold. Mahale explained that some were out of town,others injured or bedridden. The judge insisted that he would issue summonses,especially to eye-witnesses at Leopold. “When they can give interviews to television channels,why can’t they come to the court?”

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The judge also went through the court calendar,observed there were only 13 working days in September,and said the officers should work more efficiently since they have so many holidays.

In the first two months,the prosecution examined around six witness everyday. The rate went down after accused Ajmal Kasab made a guilty plea on July 20. Mahale has indicated the prosecution would examine about 230 witnesses,of whom 183 witnesses have already appeared. If five of the rest are examined everyday,one part of the trial could be over by the end of the month,Mahale said.

On Wednesday,the prosecution examined police inspector Prakash Bhoite,who carried out the initial investigation into the Taj attack,and watchman Sachin Sorte,who works in a clothing store opposite Leopold and who had identified one of the attackers in the morgue.

First published on: 10-09-2009 at 01:55:58 am
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