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Ramabai Nagar firing: last witness says mob half a km from statue

Investigating officer Nagesh Lohar — the 38th and the last witness in the Ramabai Nagar firing case — has testified that the mob was at least 500 metres from the Ambedkar statue...

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
February 2, 2009 3:26:00 am

Investigating officer Nagesh Lohar — the 38th and the last witness in the Ramabai Nagar firing case — has testified that the mob was at least 500 metres from the Ambedkar statue,contradicting the defence that had contented that a huge mob had gathered obstructing the road surrounding the statue.

On July 11,1997,a state reserve police officer ordered his platoon to open fire on a mob of Dalits for rioting at Mata Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar following desecration of Dr B R Ambedkar’s statue. The firing claimed 10 lives and injured 26. A commission had been appointed under justice S D Gundewar in November 1997,which indicted SRPF officer Manohar Kadam for firing indiscriminately at the mob.

Lohar’s statement is one of the most important ones on record as distance between the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar statue and the mobs gathered at the spot is a vital aspect considered by the police.

Lohar claimed that with time he was unsure of what exactly happened during the investigation and that it was inappropriate to comment on anything without being sure about how things unfolded.

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Lohar also denied remembering if any film was shot by an amateur which later turned out to be a major evidence before the commission appointed under Justice S D Gundewar. The commission completed its inquiry in August 1998. However,the clips submitted by one Ravi Shinde were not accepted as authentic evidence as it was an edited record challenging many aspects claimed by the police.

Now after the completion of the depositions of all the prosecution witnesses,under Section 313 of Criminal Procedure Code,Kadam will have to either plead guilty or not guilty. The defence will there on bring forward witnesses,if any,to examine the case.

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First published on: 02-02-2009 at 03:26:00 am

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