After four accused in the Kotkhai custodial death case denied consent to proceed with physical or virtual trial before the court, the special CBI court of Chandigarh on Thursday disposed of the application filed by Zahur Haider Zaidi to commence the physical hearing of the case and proceed further in the matter.
Zahur Haider Zaidi, who is presently lodged in the Model jail of Burail, had submitted before the court that he wants to proceed with the trial in the presence of the accused in court.
The CBI counsel, Public Prosecutor, Kanwar Pal Singh, in reply gave his consent for the said purpose and stated that it has no objection, if the physical hearing of the case is started and evidence in the matter is recorded in the court.
The other accused, Mohan Lal, Surat Singh (both in custody), D W Negi, Manoj Joshi (both on bail), however, in reply submitted through their counsels that they are not ready to proceed with the trial at this stage due to fear of Covid-19.
Since the accused are in jail, Joint IG Prison and Superintendent, Burail Jail, Chandigarh has also submitted his reply, stating that that they are bound to follow the Covid-19 guidelines like quarantine period of 14 days etc for producing the accused before the court. He added that they are ready to produce the accused persons in court as and when directed to do so.
The special CBI Judge, Dr Sushil Kumar Garg, however after hearing the matter, held that “…this court is ready to summon and examine the prosecution witnesses in the physical presence of accused persons in the court as the learned Public Prosecutor for the CBI, learned counsels for accused Zahur Haider Zaidi, Rafi Mohammad, Ranjit Steta and Rajinder Singh, Deep Chand Sharma are also ready to proceed further with the trial after following the guidelines of Covid-19, issued by the competent authority of Law. However, in view of the aforesaid directions of the Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh and learned District and Sessions Judge, Chandigarh, at this stage, this court cannot proceed with the trial in the absence of consent of all the counsels to the present litigation as the learned counsels for the accused Mohan Lal, Surat Singh, Manoj Joshi and D W Negi have not given their consent specifically to proceed with the trial before the court physically or virtually…”
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