INDUSTRIALIST NUSLI Wadia deposed before a special CBI court on Monday in a 27-year-old case of an alleged conspiracy to murder him. Kirti Ambani, a former general manager with Reliance Industries Ltd, is accused along with others of conspiring to murder Wadia in 1988-89.
Though his statement was recorded as a witness in the case earlier, the CBI had dropped Wadia as a prosecution witness during the process of the trial. Wadia had then approached the court seeking to make disclosures of an alleged motive as well as an alleged wider conspiracy about the case.
After the court allowed Wadia to depose, Kirti moved an application seeking for the deposition to be made in-camera not allowing the media to report on it. It was his contention that Wadia’s application to depose was ‘not bonafide but only to raise issues and matters…not at all relevant to the case but to cause injury and harm to the reputation’ of his former employer.
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Special Judge H S Mahajan had given a conditional order in March 2015 stating that the media would be at liberty to publish part of the evidence excluding anything related with the business rivalry between Reliance and Bombay Dyeing.
On Monday, Wadia stood in the witness box and deposed for over an hour.
Examined by Special Public Prosecutor Kavita Patil, Wadia said he was interrogated by the CID in August 1989 followed by the CBI in December 1989 in connection with the case.
“I was informed that there was a conspiracy to murder me. I was also informed that one Kirti Ambani along with others were part of such conspiracy,” he told the court.
Wadia added that he had to remove his two sons from a school in Himachal Pradesh after a kidnap threat.
“During 87-89, my sons were studying in Himachal Pradesh. I received information from the police informing me that my two sons were under a possible kidnap threat. I was advised to remove my children from the school. I removed them from the school and moved them to a school in England,” he said.
On being asked whether he knew Kirti, Wadia replied in the negative stating that he only heard about him when the CID disclosed to him that Kirti was part of a conspiracy to murder him. “I was informed that he was the General Manager of Reliance,” he said when asked by Patil about the identity of Kirti.
Further, Patil asked him the concluding question if he knew what was the reason behind the conspiracy planned by Kirti.
“I cannot understand any reason for Kirti Ambani to conspire other than the fact that he worked for Reliance which was controlled and managed by Mr Dhirubhai Ambani and his sons,” he told the court.
This was followed by only one question put up in his cross-examination by advocate Amit Desai representing Reliance. Desai asked Wadia pertaining to the last question in his deposition stating that there is no reason why Kirti Ambani and others would conspire to kill him.
Wadia said it would be incorrect to say that, ending the deposition.
In 2003, a sessions judge had charged Kirti Ambani, Arjun Babaria, Ivan Sequeira and Ramesh Jagothia with hatching a criminal conspiracy in 1988-89 to eliminate Wadia.