The Congress-JDS government in Karnataka has replaced a Special Public Prosecutor conducting the trial of a 10-year-old terrorism case, in which Kerala politician Abdul Nasser Madani is one of the 33 people accused of involvement in planting bombs around Bengaluru on July 25, 2008, resulting in the death of one woman.
Despite the trial reaching its final stage under Special Public Prosecutor Sadashivamurthy and despite a September 20 order by Karnataka High Court to complete the trial within two months, the state government this week appointed a new prosecutor.
On Thursday last, a former state prosecutor, K Rudraswamy, appeared in the special terrorism court in Bengaluru with a notification issued by Karnataka government, appointing him as Special Public Prosecutor for the rest of the trial in the blasts case.
The appointment of a new Special Public Prosecutor will set the trial back by at least seven to eight months since the new prosecutor will need time to pick up the threads of the trial in which over 2,000 witnesses and over 6,000 documents have been examined so far, sources said.
“It is unfortunate that in a case of national interest the public prosecutor has been changed at a time when the trial is at its fag end. The previous prosecutor had been conducting the case effectively,’’ said a police officer associated with the case.
Sadashivamurthy said he was shunted out for fighting the case strongly. “I have tried to conduct the case in an effective manner where the prosecution’s case is respected in the court. The government has its own considerations. They say that I have not been cooperative on some issues,’’ he said.
Sources in state legal department said the decision was a consequence of Sadashivamurthy demanding stringent conditions during the recent grant of court permission to the ailing Madani, 53, to go to Kerala between October 29 to November 4 to visit his mother who is suffering from cancer.
In an October 26 order permitting Madani, who is out of prison on conditional bail but is confined to a medical facility in Bengaluru, the special court at the insistence of the Special Public Prosecutor said Madani should not meet members of any party, should not carry or share any papers, documents with associates and that he should not provoke “disharmony’’ while he is in Kerala.
New Special Public Prosecutor Rudraswamy said, “The case file has not been given to me as yet. I was the SPP in the case in the early stages and I argued it strongly at the time. I will argue forcefully again but will need some time.’’